Evidence-Based Oncology Examines Impact of Quality Measures in Cancer Care

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What is the best way to measure quality care in cancer? As explored in the current issue of Evidence-Based Oncology, it depends on who you ask, and which tools are used to evaluate care.

PLAINSBORO, N.J.—Quality metrics are proliferating in cancer care, and are derived from many of the same sources, yet in many ways they remain in the eye of the beholder, according to experts who offered insights and commentary in the current issue of Evidence-Based Oncology (EBO), a publication of The American Journal of Managed Care. For the full issue, click here.

For the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), a key step to measuring quality in cancer care has been assembling data through the creation CancerLinQ, the Cancer Learning Intelligence Network for Quality. This tool extracts information from electronic health records to share among oncologists, researchers and patients for use at the point of care, according to a commentary by Robert S. Miller, MD, FACP, FASCO, vice president, Quality and Guidelines for ASCO.

The issue also features coverage of a panel discussion with three experts who have successfully implemented the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer model: Marsha DeVita, ANPBC, chief clinical officer, Hematology Oncology Associates of Central New York; Bruce J. Gould, MD, president and medical director, Northwest Georgia Oncology Centers, PC; and Barbara McAneny, MD, chief executive officer, New Mexico Cancer Center & Innovative Oncology Business Solutions.


Two articles in the issue explore the need for better patient reported outcomes, or PROs. Authors from the National Quality Forum (NQF) outline the challenges of creating such measures, including the lack of available data, the need to understand how to assess symptoms, as well as implementation and testing issues.

Authors from the group PatientsLikeMe and Actelion Pharmaceuticals collaborated on an article about a project funded by Robert Wood Johnson that involved the creation of a quality-of-life measure for the rare disease mycosis fungoides and its leukemic variant, Sézary syndrome.

EBO editor-in-chief Joseph Alvarnas, MD, reminded readers that while metrics are important, they do not solve all the issues with quality. “As cancer care stakeholders move through processes of creating, deploying, and reporting quality metrics, it is important to remember that these measures alone are not sufficient to bring better care to patients,” he writes. “Cancer care quality measures are not the equivalent of baseball sabermetrics; there is no easy, metric-based fast-track toward creating a less costly, more effective cancer care delivery system.”

About the Journals and

The American Journal of Managed Care is the leading peer-reviewed journal dedicated to issues in managed care. distributes healthcare news to leading stakeholders across a variety of platforms. Other titles in the franchise include The American Journal of Accountable Care, which publishes research and commentary on innovative healthcare delivery models facilitated by the 2010 Affordable Care Act. AJMC’s Evidence-Based series brings together stakeholder views from payers, providers, policymakers and pharmaceutical leaders in oncology and diabetes management. To order reprints of articles appearing in AJMC publications, please call (609) 716-7777, x 131.