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Jadwin A , O'Grady P , Babb J , Engstrom PF
Feasibility of assessing quality in medical oncology practices
Cancer Practice. 2001 ;9(5) :231-5
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Purpose: This study was designed to test the feasibility of conducting routine quality assessment within community medical oncology practices. Description of study: Eleven medical oncologists practicing within the Fox Chase Network were surveyed over an 8-month period, using a standardized 10-item checklist. Eight of the items (ie, board certification, continuing education, office procedure manual for chemotherapy, chemotherapy flow sheets, body surface area calculations, adherence to guidelines for follow-up of breast cancer, adjuvant hormones in women with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, and patient satisfaction survey) were chosen because they measure structural and process variables particularly relevant to the high-volume clinical services seen in private practice oncology. The authors also calculated two rates (protocol accrual and neutropenic complications of chemotherapy) to test as putative indicators of quality. Results: The authors found a high level of both physician interest in developing the audit measures and compliance with the survey process. Overall quality of care, as measured by structure and process variables, was excellent with negligible internal variability. Derived rates of protocol accrual (0.003-0.373; mean 0.11, SD 0.11) and neutropenic sepsis (0.004-0.014; mean 0.007, SD 0.004) show considerable variability, however, and are only minimally correlated (r = -.36). These are both potential indicators of quality that should be further evaluated. Clinical implications: The authors have demonstrated the feasibility of conducting quality assessment within private medical oncology practices and have identified two easily calculated rates that merit further study as potential indicators of quality.
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