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Study evaluates importance of timeliness of care in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment
Date:5/3/2010

CHICAGO (May 3, 2010) While timely care can reduce stress among breast cancer patients about their condition, the drive for expediency should not compromise other factors important to care, such as safety, effectiveness, efficiency, and equity, according to new research findings published in the April issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Patients who receive a breast cancer diagnosis and one in eight women will receive one in their lifetimes often immediately tell their clinician, "I want treatment as soon as possible," the authors say. This study is the first to ask the questions "how long is too long with regard to patient satisfaction?," and "how can that wait be reduced without compromising quality?"

The authors focused on measuring patient satisfaction at a breast cancer center that adheres to timeliness criteria published by professional organizations. They measured all components of timeliness, from the first breast cancer symptom or sign to operative treatment, while also surveying patient satisfaction as it relates to published timeliness goals. They found that more than 90 percent of these patients had their expectations met or exceeded with regard to dates of service from diagnostic evaluation to treatment.

"While most breast cancer patients expect treatment as soon as possible, patient education, informed consent, and a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation are also important, and these components all take time," according to Jeffrey Landercasper, MD, FACS, general surgeon, Gundersen Lutheran Health System, La Crosse, WI. "However, the goal of timely care is to complement, not compete, with the other factors important to quality of care. We recommend institutions perform a timeliness audit to identify the causes of delay, correlate timeliness with patient satisfaction, and compare their performance to published timeliness targets."

Researchers also found that timely care is facilitat
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Contact: Sally Garneski
pressinquiry@facs.org
312-202-5409
Weber Shandwick Worldwide
Source:Eurekalert

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