Study recommends qualitative and quantitative measurements that can lead to more successfully coordinated cancer care, finds need for better organization around the integration of care.
FORT WASHINGTON, Pennsylvania, Sept. 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- New research in the September 2018 issue of JNCCN — Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network explores a new approach for benchmarking cancer centers, based on how successfully their organizational structures allow them to implement Integrated Practice Units (IPU). These IPUs are defined as highly coordinated, multidisciplinary care (including rehabilitation and supportive services) that can provide better value to patients by increasing efficiency and lowering costs. However, upon applying this 13-step measurement method to seven cancer centers across Europe, the researchers found there was no clear, consistent strategy for developing and implementing IPUs.
"We found a wide range of IPU-development stages and characteristics for cancer pathways," said Anke Wind, PhD, Department of Psychosocial Research and Epidemiology, Netherlands Cancer Institute. "The sobering finding is that these are not very advanced in their IPU maturity."
This study is part of the international benchmarking project known as BENCH-CAN. The new benchmarking tool is comprised of 51 qualitative indicators and 193 quantitative indicators, based on existing literature and expert consensus. That data was then collected for the year 2012 from the seven pilot cancer centers, all of which are current members of the Organisation of European Cancer Institutes (OECI). The analysis focused mainly on breast cancer pathways, in order to ensure all of the centers involved were able to provide sufficient data for comparison. The research process included an in-person visit to each center to verify data and better understand context.
The researchers concluded with the recommendation that cancer centers explore strategic organizational changes to allow for adequate staffing to both measure and improve their use of IPUs as part of their cancer pathways.
"A more systematic deployment of IPU traits is advised when implementing value-based health care in oncology," said Dr. Wind. The researchers will be following up with a project on Achieving Best possible Cancer treatment outcomes in treatment pathways through benchmarking, a.k.a. the ABC-Benchmarking project, intended to further validate and develop the benchmark format in order to link outcomes data to benchmark characteristics.
"This work is an important step toward more consistent provision of guideline-directed care during and after cancer treatment," said Kathryn Ruddy, MD, MPH, Director of Cancer Survivorship for the Department of Oncology, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, and a Member of the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) Panel for Survivorship.
AboutJNCCN—Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network More than 25,000 oncologists and other cancer care professionals across the United States read JNCCN—Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. This peer-reviewed, indexed medical journal provides the latest information about best clinical practices, health services research, and translational medicine. JNCCN features updates on the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®), review articles elaborating on guidelines recommendations, health services research, and case reports highlighting molecular insights in patient care. JNCCN is published by Harborside Press. Visit JNCCN.org. Follow JNCCN on Twitter @JNCCN.
About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 27 leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education, is dedicated to improving the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of cancer care so that patients can live better lives. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers.