Toward a health-promoting system for cancer survivors: Patient and provider multiple behavior change

Bonnie Spring*, Tammy Stump, Frank Penedo, Angela Fidler Pfammatter, June K. Robinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective: This paper examines how and why to improve care systems for disease management and health promotion for the growing population of cancer survivors with cardiovascular multi-morbidities. Method: We reviewed research characterizing cancer survivors' and their multiple providers' common sense cognitive models of survivors' main health threats, preventable causes of adverse health events, and optimal coping strategies. Results: Findings indicate that no entity in the health care system selfidentifies as claiming primary responsibility to address longstanding unhealthy lifestyle behaviors that heighten survivors' susceptibility to both cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD) and whose improvement could enhance quality of life. Conclusions: To address this gap, we propose systems-level changes that integrate health promotion into existing survivorship services by including behavioral risk factor vital signs in the electronic medical record, with default proactive referral to a health promotionist (a paraprofessional coach adept with mobile technologies and supervised by a professional expert in health behavior change). By using the patient's digital tracking data to coach remotely and periodically report progress to providers, the health promotionist closes a gap, creating a connected care system that supports, reinforces, and maintains accountability for healthy lifestyle improvement. No comparable resource solely dedicated to treatment of chronic disease risk behaviors (smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, treatment nonadherence) exists in current models of integrated care. Integrating health promotionists into care delivery channels would remove burden from overtaxed PCPs and instantiate a comprehensive, actionable systems-level schema of health risks and coping strategies needed to have preventive impact with minimal interference to clinical work flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)840-850
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Cancer survivors
  • Electronic health records
  • Health behavior
  • Health promotion
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Applied Psychology


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