Measuring quality is important in determining whether patients are getting the appropriate care they need. Linda Bosserman, MD, assistant clinical professor and staff physician, City of Hope, explained that measures should be specific to the patient’s unique needs.
She explained that a part of her and her team’s work is to define what quality measures they believe are important for doctors to look at, which means considering the patient’s specific disease type and trying to understand whether the individual received the types of treatment and medications he or she needed. Dr Bosserman said that from this view of a patient’s needs requires a new definition for the standard of quality care.
Where City of Hope offers a set standard for what quality of care looks like and allows physicians and health plans to use it as a benchmark, Dr Bosserman explained that CancerLinQ, the platform being developed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, looks at the big picture: overall health outcomes and overall costs.
Both programs are equally exciting according to Jason C. Goldwater, MA, MPA, senior director, National Quality Forum. “I think anytime that you’re watching an organization gather data from its 37 different oncology practices, and really using fairly sophisticated analytic tools on what will be an extensive data set, I think it piques everyone’s interest in the quality measurement community,” Mr Goldwater said.
Mr Goldwater said that “big data” has become a very popular term, largely because of the innovative, emerging means of storing electronic data, like for example the cloud and various data warehousing programs. He added, “I think we’re just beginning to scratch the surface of what we’re going to be able do with that and I think there’s great interest in how CancerLinQ is going to be used to create measures or refine measures that are already existing.”
However, Dr Bosserman underscored the importance of optimizing patient-physician meetings by providing data systems that are easier to use for the physician. She concluded that discrete data are critical for the decisions health plans make as well as in measuring quality and patient outcomes.