INFORM: Improving information and communication for migrants with cancer (Phase II RCT)

The INFORM study is a research project designed to improve hospital services for our non-English speaking oncology patients. The trial is testing a communication intervention, which involves audio-recording important hospital consultations for patients who use an interpreter. Patients are provided with a copy of the consultation audio-recording to take home and listen to, or to play for their family and friends.

Our research has found that a lot of information is provided to patients at their hospital appointments, and this can be confusing and overwhelming, especially if people are feeling anxious, upset, or have been given some bad news. Giving patients audio-recordings of their hospital consultations has been successful and beneficial for English-speaking oncology patients, so the aim of this trial was to see if the benefits are also present for non-English speaking patients. Patients in the trial are also provided with lists of helpful questions that they can ask their oncology team. Benefits of the question list and the consultation audio-recording are predicted to be: improved recall and understanding of the information given to patients, and increased participation in their healthcare and treatment decision-making. The study aims to evaluate and validate the methodological design and feasibility of the intervention in multiple hospital settings.

Patients identified as requiring an interpreter for Greek, Cantonese, Mandarin or Arabic were recruited from Head and Neck, Lung, Urology, Gastrointestinal, Gynaecological, Haematological, and Bone and Soft Tissue clinical services at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Northern Health.

Recruitment for this study has now been completed. Patients reported finding the audio-recordings and question list useful, and they suggested that they should be made more widely available and tailored to patients' needs. Assessments of key areas of feasibility were completed within each language group separately, as well as for overall trial function, and results suggested some pragmatic recommendations for ensuring the feasibility of a Phase III efficacy RCT. This study also developed a method for analysing the extent to which non-English speaking patients recall medical information.  Results from this study may be used to design a national trial to test how well the intervention helps with recall of information given within the hospital consultation, and also how much it helps patients feel more involved with their healthcare and treatment decision-making.


Swinburne University of Technology


National Health & Medical Research Council

Principal Investigator/s

Professor Penelope Schofield

Contact details

Prof Penelope Schofield

Professor of Health Psychology, Program Lead: Personalized Health Care Innovation, Swinburne University

Head of Behavioural Science in Cancer, Cancer Experiences Research

Email: [email protected]