Michigan cancer programs follow care guidelines for common cancers, study finds

April 10, 2012

A majority of Michigan oncology practices participating in a statewide consortium followed treatment guidelines for common cancers, but had gaps in managing symptoms and end-of-life care, according to a new study.

The study comes out of the Michigan Oncology Consortium, a statewide collaboration designed to collect data from medical oncology practices about how physicians care for patients. The consortium members looked at whether practices adhere to standard cancer care guidelines when it comes to administering chemotherapy or other treatments, managing symptoms or side effects of treatment and caring for patients at the end of their life.

"Cancer treatments are improving, but not all patients will benefit if care is not uniformly delivered. Understanding whether practices adhere to cancer treatment guidelines is the first step in improving the quality of cancer care," says lead study author Douglas Blayney, M.D., adjunct professor of medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School. Blayney is also the Ann and John Doerr Medical Director of the Stanford University Cancer Institute.

Results of the study appear in the April issue of Health Affairs.

The Michigan Oncology Quality Consortium is a collaboration among medical oncology practices, the , the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

The consortium grew out of a national project, the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative, which facilitates self-assessment, quality measurements and continuous improvement in cancer care to outpatient practices that demonstrate high adherence. The U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center was one of the first practices in Michigan to participate in the initiative under Blayney's direction, and it is one of the first in Southeast Michigan to be QOPI-certified.

To encourage more statewide practices to participate in quality initiatives, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan agreed to provide reimbursement for practices in the consortium to submit data over a five-week period twice a year on the quality measures.

At the first measurement, study authors found that practices adhered to quality care processes more than 90 percent of the time in caring for breast , 85 percent of the time with colorectal cancer patients and 71 percent of the time with lung cancer patients. Adherence to guidelines around symptom and side effect management and end-of-life care was lower and did not improve over time. Twenty oncology practices throughout the state participated in this part of the project.

"Merely collecting the data and using it to demonstrate to physicians their adherence, or lack of adherence, to quality processes was not sufficient to measurably improve quality," Blayney says. "Realizing this, we were able to develop more structured and proactive interventions that we hope will lead to improvements."

The study authors determined that data management was inconsistent around one measure and could account for some of the low adherence. The program worked with practices to improve how they document their processes. Based on the initial results, the recently initiated a project to improve provision of palliative delivery.

Explore further: Michigan's collaborative quality improvement program cuts costs, improves patient care

More information: "Michigan Oncology Practices Showed Varying Adherence Rates to Practice Guidelines, But Quality Interventions Improved Care", Health Affairs, Vol. 31, No. 4, April 2012.

Related Stories

Michigan's collaborative quality improvement program cuts costs, improves patient care

April 7, 2011
In a paper published today in the professional health care journal, Health Affairs, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the University of Michigan Health System report that their model for collaborative health care quality ...

Patient empowerment and system transformation to improve cancer care

December 14, 2011
Physicians can use medical records to track the quality of cancer care and determine whether their patients are receiving the right treatments at the right time. Yet the patient is the only one who ultimately can evaluate ...

Many patients fail to properly take oral chemo, leading to complications

May 25, 2011
As the use of oral chemotherapy continues to rise, researchers from Michigan State University have discovered many patients fail to properly take the cancer-fighting medication, a significant clinical problem that can result ...

Nearly half of physician practices do not meet national standards for 'medical homes'

October 18, 2011
Many Americans do not have access to a "medical home"—a physician practice that is able to manage ongoing care for patients and coordinate care among specialists and other health care facilities, according to a University ...

Recommended for you

Shooting the achilles heel of nervous system cancers

July 20, 2017
Virtually all cancer treatments used today also damage normal cells, causing the toxic side effects associated with cancer treatment. A cooperative research team led by researchers at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center ...

Molecular changes with age in normal breast tissue are linked to cancer-related changes

July 20, 2017
Several known factors are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer including increasing age, being overweight after menopause, alcohol intake, and family history. However, the underlying biologic mechanisms through ...

Immune-cell numbers predict response to combination immunotherapy in melanoma

July 20, 2017
Whether a melanoma patient will better respond to a single immunotherapy drug or two in combination depends on the abundance of certain white blood cells within their tumors, according to a new study conducted by UC San Francisco ...

Discovery could lead to better results for patients undergoing radiation

July 19, 2017
More than half of cancer patients undergo radiotherapy, in which high doses of radiation are aimed at diseased tissue to kill cancer cells. But due to a phenomenon known as radiation-induced bystander effect (RIBE), in which ...

Definitive genomic study reveals alterations driving most medulloblastoma brain tumors

July 19, 2017
The most comprehensive analysis yet of medulloblastoma has identified genomic changes responsible for more than 75 percent of the brain tumors, including two new suspected cancer genes that were found exclusively in the least ...

Novel CRISPR-Cas9 screening enables discovery of new targets to aid cancer immunotherapy

July 19, 2017
A novel screening method developed by a team at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center—using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology to test the function of thousands of tumor genes in mice—has ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.