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Rapid Feedback Boosts Adherence to Oncology Quality Measures



Major Finding: Compliance rates for five quality measures climbed to as high as 90% in centers that used RQRS.

Data Source: Data on 31,590 breast cancer cases and 11,338 colon cancer cases in the RQRS in 3008-2011 were compared with data from the National Cancer Database in 2006-2007 for 18,151 breast cancer cases and 6,369 colon cancer cases.

Disclosures: Ms. McNamara reported having no financial disclosures.

SAN DIEGO – A Rapid Quality Reporting System significantly improved oncologists’ adherence to five measures of quality treatment for patients with breast and colon cancer during beta testing involving 64,129 patients at 64 cancer centers.

The system, developed by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer, provides next-business-day feedback when centers submit data. Compliance rates climbed as high as 90% by the end of a 5-year period, according to researchers.

Erica J. McNamara

Erica J. McNamara and her associates reported the following gains at a symposium on quality care sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO):

• The proportion of patients receiving hormone therapy for hormone receptor–positive breast cancer increased from 47% in 2006 to 85% in 2011.

• Treatment with radiation following breast conserving surgery increased from 69% of patients to 90%.

• Use of multi-adjuvant chemotherapy for hormone receptor–negative breast cancer increased from 72% of patients to 90%,

• Treatment with adjuvant chemotherapy for lymph node–positive colon cancer increased from 68% to 86%.

• The proportion of patients with resected colon cancer who had at least 12 regional lymph nodes removed for pathological examination improved from 70% to 90%,

The study gathered data from the National Cancer Database in 2006-2007 for 18,151 patients with breast cancer and 6,369 patients with colon cancer and compared it with data reported to the Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS) in 2008-2011 for 31,590 patients with breast cancer and 11,338 patients with colon cancer.

The system monitors the five quality measures using reporting procedures similar to those that hospitals already use to submit patient data to cancer registries. Traditional registries generally report a hospital’s rate of performing quality measures 2 years after data submission, however, while the RQRS allows cancer programs to submit data whenever they want and sends feedback by the next business day, said Ms. McNamara, a quality improvement information analyst for the American College of Surgeons, Chicago.

With as little as a surgical or pathological report, cancer programs can submit a case to the RQRS to get alerts when quality care is not being provided. "What this does is it changes it from looking at retrospective cases to cases that are currently within their first course of therapy," she said in a press conference before the meeting.

Programs participating in the beta-test generally submitted data monthly, and new participants in the RQRS are required to submit data at least quarterly. The RQRS analyzes the data and returns a report in a variety of image formats, such as a year-to-date "dashboard" showing the program’s compliance rates for individual quality measures, and a list of every case submitted and whether the quality measures were applicable to the case or not, or if more information is needed.

The report also includes color-coded "case alerts" with the colors changing to orange and then red as a patient gets closer to the end of the first course of therapy with either no documentation of adjuvant therapy or no documentation that treatment decision has been made to not provide adjuvant therapy. Participants must log in to a password-protected site to view details of the case.

"For each of the adjuvant therapy measures, there’s a specific amount of time that each patient has to receive their adjuvant therapy," Ms. McNamara said. "We find that after about 6-9 months of using RQRS, about a third of programs tell us that they have seen RQRS prevent patients from slipping through the cracks or not receiving timely adjuvant care."

Breakdowns of the data by race, age, and type of insurance showed that quality care significantly improved in all subgroups. Disparities in quality adherence rates between patients of different races, ages, or insurance status were minimized or eliminated with use of the RQRS.

Two factors appeared to produce these improvements. Use of the RQRS improved the coordination of care and led to more complete reporting of adjuvant therapy data, she said.

More than 400 cancer programs now voluntarily use the RQRS. The American College of Surgeons is working on expanding the RQRS to include other measures of quality care for breast cancer and for lung, stomach, and esophageal cancers.

Ms. McNamara reported having no financial disclosures.

View on the News

Exciting Advance in Practice Feedback

This study is really noteworthy in that the development of this system significantly improved cancer care within a very short amount of time in more than 60 cancer centers nationally.

This sort of innovative feedback system provides real-time improvement in care, so it’s very exciting.

Dr. Jyoti D. Patel is a thoracic oncologist at Northwestern University, Chicago, and a member of ASCO’s Cancer Communications Committee.

Courtesy ASTRO
Dr. Jyoti D. Patel





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