National Cancer Institute
Health Services & Economics Branch
Cancer Control and Population Sciences

Patterns of Care/Quality of Care:


Uses of POC/QOC data

Cancer is increasingly diagnosed and treated in the outpatient setting. Patterns of Care studies provide important information on the receipt of cancer therapies that are not well documented in hospital records. Data on hormonal therapy and chemotherapy, especially, are not well documented. Data gathered through the POC studies are used in a number of ways. For example, the data help investigators examine disparities in cancer treatment among age, racial/ethnic groups, and urban/rural residents.

Using POC study data, SEER "Stat Chats" help explain other SEER data on incidence and mortality. Stat Chats are seminars presented yearly to inform the NCI director and staff about cancer incidence, treatment, and mortality.

Interventions to Improve Care

  • The studies provide national population-based information on treatment dissemination into community practice, possible determinants of dissemination, and variations in therapy. Such information is essential to identifying potential areas for educational programs to improve the quality of care that will be planned in collaboration with professional societies.

  • NCI has previously used the POC data to describe treatment for cancer sites and compare these with the guidelines for care. POC findings on the dissemination of state-of-the-art therapy into community practice have been examined and linked to NIH Consensus Development Conferences Statements and NIH Clinical Alerts.

  • These data have been presented to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) as a model for data collection to be used in evaluating the quality of cancer care. POC studies also will be used to develop future editions of NCI's Cancer Trends Progress Report; inform NCI's programmatic "Challenges" in emerging trends, quality of care, and health disparities; and to inform interested members of the lay, patient advocate, policy and research communities.

Last modified:
18 Oct 2007
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