Empowering Health Care Consumers

Project Title

Engaging Patients in Informed Decision-making Through the “What Matters to Me” Tool

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Empowering Health Care Consumers

Date Awarded

March 13, 2020









“What matters to you?” is a question that captures the most important attribute of patient-centered care and actively engages patients in health care decisions.

Although numerous decision-making aids offer information on the growing number of treatment options for a given diagnosis, they are not designed to capture patients’ personal concerns and overall quality-of-life priorities. Physicians recognize the importance of learning about these priorities, but they do not have systematic ways of collecting, documenting, and integrating this information into their workflow and clinical practice. In response, CancerCare developed the “What Matters to Me” tool, an easy and efficient way for patients to communicate their personal quality-of-life priorities to providers in advance of making cancer treatment decisions. In 2020, NYHealth awarded CancerCare a grant to test the tool among patients and clinicians and evaluate its effectiveness to engage patients as partners in cancer care decision-making.

Under this grant, CancerCare partnered with Montefiore Medical Center to field test the tool among providers and Spanish- and English-speaking patients at three Montefiore cancer clinics. CancerCare provided the tool to a cohort of cancer patients initiating treatment for their cancer diagnoses who did not yet have a treatment plan. CancerCare conducted surveys and interviews with providers and patients to gather feedback on the tool’s relevance and usefulness, as well as the feasibility of integrating it into a clinic’s practice and workflow. Using these findings, CancerCare updated the tool as needed, as well as developed resources and recommendations for integrating and using the tool in other health systems. CancerCare and Montefiore then broadly shared the recommendations through their national and New York State-based cancer partners, conferences, and publications to encourage replication.