Cancer Quality of Care Measures Project
Far too many of the more than 9 million U.S. cancer patients and survivors do not
receive high-quality care. In many instances, no consensus exists on what "quality care"
is. Even when consensus may have developed, wide variations in practice patterns suggest
that significant disparities in cancer care persist across populations.
As a result, NCI has made improving the quality of cancer care a major priority (see The Nation's Investment in Cancer Research for more
information). An important element of this priority area is identifying, developing,
applying, and evaluating quality of care measures. The centerpiece of the effort to
identify a core set of quality measures, and recommendations for further measures
development, is the Cancer Quality of Care Measures Project. Such measures can be used for
a range of purposes, such as monitoring the quality of cancer care in defined populations,
evaluating the performance of health plans and providers, and guiding quality improvement
activities. The project's overall aim was to strengthen the scientific basis for public
and private sector decision-making in the areas of cancer care delivery, purchasing and
insurance coverage, regulation and standards setting, and the conduct of future research
on improving cancer care delivery.
In this project, NCI is collaborating with other Federal agencies, a number of private
sector organizations, and the non-profit National
Quality Forum (NQF) to identify evidence-based quality measures for diagnosing and
treating certain major types of cancer, as well as "cross-cutting" measures that apply to
multiple cancer sites (e.g., measures for screening or palliative care).
The project launched Phase I in
2002 and completed Phase II in the fall of 2007. The final
report from the project is currently under review, and NCI is working with AHRQ and the
NQF on a series of follow-up activities.