Background In several breast cancer research environments, there was a need to develop a questionnaire that would (1) provide data on how breast cancer patients experience healthcare services, (2) address issues corresponding with patients' needs and expectations and (3) produce useful data for quality assessment and improvement projects aimed at breast cancer care. This article describes the first part of the quantitative process of item selection, instrument construction and optimisation based on the results of a pilot questionnaire. Methods Based on qualitative research, a pilot questionnaire with items formulated as "performance" and "importance" statements was developed and sent to all breast cancer patients operated on in the previous 3-15 months in five participating hospitals. Reduction criteria, exploratory factor analysis and reliability analysis were used as part of the process of instrument optimisation. Results Of the 637 questionnaires sent out, 299 (47%) were returned and 276 (43%) were used for analyses. Out of the 72 quality items included in the pilot questionnaire, 42 items did not meet the inclusion criteria for the revised version. The remaining items refer to the factors patient education regarding aspects related to postoperative treatment, services by the breast nurse, services by the surgeon, patient education regarding activities at home and patient education regarding aspects related to preoperative treatment (Cronbach alpha=0.70-0.89). Conclusions In this study, the number of items to be included in the self-administered questionnaire was reduced. The resulting set of items that determines patients' perceptions on quality of breast cancer care is easy to complete and enables anonymous responses. Further research can be aimed at establishing the reliability of the current questionnaire.
de Kok, M., Sixma, H. J., van der Weijden, T., Kessels, A. G., Dirksen, C. D., Spijkers, K. F., van de Velde, C. J., Roukema, J. A., van der Ent, F. W., Finaly Marais, C., & von Meyenfeldt, M. F. (2010). A patient-centred instrument for assessment of quality of breast cancer care: results of a pilot questionnaire. Quality & Safety in Health Care, 19(6), 1-8. [e40]. https://doi.org/10.1136/qshc.2007.025890