Adapting and Developing an Academic and Community Practice Collaborative Care Model for Metastatic Breast Cancer Care (Project ADAPT): Protocol for an Implementation Science-Based Study

Ashley J. Housten, Uzoma Charles Okere, Graham A. Colditz, Cynthia Ma, Jingxia Liu, Courtney Harriss, Nancy U. Lin, Melissa Rooney, Jennifer Dill, Muhammad Popalzai, Jennifer Badiu, Kan Huang, Casey Burton, Lindsay Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) remains incurable despite significant treatment advances. Coordinating care for patients with MBC can be challenging given the various treatment options, available clinical trials, and frequent need for ancillary services. To optimize MBC care, we designed a project for adapting and developing an academic and community practice collaborative care model for MBC care (Project ADAPT), based on the Ending Metastatic Breast Cancer for Everyone (EMBRACE) program developed at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Objective: We aim to describe the implementation science-based study design and innovative components of Project ADAPT. Methods: Project ADAPT uses the Dynamic Adaptation Process informed by the Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, Sustainment framework. Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) partnered with 3 community hospitals in the St. Louis region covering rural and urban settings. The exploration and preparation phases provide patient and provider feedback on current referral practices to finalize the approach for the implementation phase. At the implementation phase, we will enroll patients with MBC at these 3 community sites to evaluate potential collaborative care at WUSM and assess the impact of this collaborative care model on referral satisfaction and acceptability for patients with MBC and their providers. Patients may then return to their community site for care or continue to receive part of their care at WUSM. We are incorporating virtual and digital health strategies to improve MBC care coordination in order to minimize patient burden. Results: The exploration phase is ongoing. As of August 2021, we have recruited 21 patient and provider participants to complete surveys of the current collaborative care process at WUSM. Using a 2-tailed paired t test, 44 patients (including 10 patients from the exploration phase) and 32 oncologists are required to detect an effect size of 0.5 with 80% power at a level of significance of .05. Throughout this phase and in preparation for the implementation phase, we have iteratively updated and refined our surveys for the implementation phase based on testing of our data collection instruments. Our partner sites are in various stages of the single institutional review board (IRB) approval process. We have ongoing engagement with all partner sites, which has helped solidify our participant recruitment strategies and design patient-friendly recruitment materials. In addition, we have included a patient advocate on the research team. Members of the research team have launched a single IRB Support Network at WUSM to create a repository of the single IRB procedures in order to streamline the partner site onboarding process and facilitate enhanced collaboration across institutions. Conclusions: With this robust model, we expect that patients with MBC will receive optimal care regardless of geographical location and the model will improve patient and provider experiences when navigating the health system.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere35736
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022


  • Project ADAPT
  • academic institutions
  • breast
  • breast cancer
  • cancer
  • care coordination
  • community practice
  • implementation
  • implementation science
  • metastatic breast cancer
  • oncology
  • referral process
  • science


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