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Research from ASCO'S Quality Care Symposium shows advances and challenges in improving the quality of cancer care

ALEXANDRIA, Va. New studies released today reveal important advances in cancer care quality measurement, physician adherence to quality standards, and end-of-life care, while highlighting the overuse of contralateral prophylactic mastectomy. The studies were released in a presscast today in advance of ASCO's inaugural 2012 Quality Care Symposium. The Symposium will take place November 30 December 1, 2012, at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego.

Four major studies were highlighted in today's presscast:

  • Study finds that most preventive double mastectomies occur in women who are at very low risk for contralateral breast cancer: Analysis of two new patient surveys found that two thirds of women with early-stage breast cancer who underwent contralateral prophylactic mastectomy were not at elevated risk for cancer in the contralateral breast; researchers found that women who opted for preventive double mastectomy had a high degree of worry about recurrence.
  • A multidisciplinary team approach to end-of-life care communications leads to reduced use of intensive care among patients with advanced cancer: Researchers found that consultation from a multidisciplinary team increased the election of palliative care and decreased use of more intensive care measures (e.g., long-term ventilation and ICU support) among patients with advanced cancer hospitalized at a comprehensive cancer center over a four year period.
  • ASCO's quality evaluation program documents significant improvement in adherence to quality standards: An analysis of self-reported data from 156 oncology practices participating in ASCO's Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI) showed that over a four year period adherence to many quality care standards markedly improved, especially those involving new standard practices (e.g., genetic testing for tumor mutations, use of new anti-nausea drugs, etc.).
  • A real-time electronic performance tracking system improves adherence to quality care standards for breast and colon cancers: A large study found that use of a quality reporting system developed by the American College of Surgeons was associated with improved adherence to certain quality standards at 64 cancer centers over a four-year period. The electronic performance tracking system evaluated in this study is the first to provide real-time feedback.

"Ensuring that our patients receive the highest quality care possible is a core responsibility of oncology. The studies presented today show us new strategies for measuring and improving our adherence to quality standards," said Jyoti Patel, MD, ASCO Cancer Communications Committee member. "The findings also provide insight on discussing treatment options for patients with both early-stage and advanced cancers."

This year's Quality Care Symposium will include more than 330 abstracts covering topics, such as reducing overuse of tests and procedures, improving patient-physician communication, effectively measuring quality of care, and applying advanced health information technology to improve the quality and value of care.


Contact: Aaron Tallent
American Society of Clinical Oncology

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