National Cancer Institute
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Outcomes Research Branch
Cancer Control and Population Sciences

Cancer Quality of Care Measures Project:

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Early History: 2002-2004

In 2002, NCI launched the Cancer Quality of Care Measures Project. The project is intended to capitalize on an innovative approach for bringing public and private parties together to create "voluntary consensus standards" for decisions bearing on health care quality, as provided under the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-113) (NTTAA) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-119. Such voluntary consensus standards are intended for use by federal agencies and may also be adopted for private sector decision-making.

NCI began Phase I of the project by working with Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to commission RAND to (1) adapt the National Quality Forum (NQF) Strategic Framework Board's report to cancer care quality and (2) assess the state of the science of cancer quality measurement. NCI, again working with AHRQ, then funded a contract with NQF to form an 18-member Steering Committee drawn from an array of public agencies and private organizations that represent clinical oncology practice, professional associations, patient advocacy groups, accreditation and standard setting organizations, policy-making and advisory boards, federal and state government agencies, insurers, and quality evaluation and improvement organizations. The Steering Committee was asked to identify priority topics for quality measures that could be used for monitoring and surveillance, accountability, and quality improvement.

Priority Areas

Phase I of the Project was completed in September 2002, when the Steering Committee met and endorsed seven priority areas for cancer quality measure identification and evaluation. The areas identified were:

  • Cancer-site specific measures
    • Breast cancer diagnosis and treatment
    • Colorectal cancer diagnosis and treatment
    • Prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment
  • Cross-cutting measures applied to multiple possible cancer sites
    • Access, including clinical trials and culturally competent care
    • Communications and coordination of care (including information technology uses)
    • Prevention and screening (including interventions traditionally within the purview of the health care system)
    • Symptom management and end-of-life care

Last modified:
08 Jan 2008
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