Phyllis Torda Championed Improved Quality Measurement Guidelines in Oncology

On February 16, after living with metastatic breast cancer, Phyllis Torda, 63, vice president of the Quality Solutions Group at the National Committee for Quality Assurance, passed away.

On February 16, after living with metastatic breast cancer for 8 years, Phyllis Torda, 63, vice president of the Quality Solutions Group at the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), passed away.

In November 2014, she attended and sat on a panel at The American Journal of Managed Care’s Patient-Centered Oncology Care meeting. There, she discussed defining quality in oncology care and shortcomings in current guidelines for measuring quality in cancer care.

“Quality measure construction has to be really precise,” she said in an interview. “You have to say what you can do and what you can’t do. And so in order for the guidelines to be really helpful for quality measure construction, they need to be more precise than they are now.”

While there are efforts in preventive services to better coordinate the work between guideline and measurement developers, no such movement is going on in oncology. However, Ms Torda thought it might come up in the near future.

She also discussed how to get cancer patients more involved in quality measurements at 3 different levels: as an individual patient, through a patient advisory committee offering constructive criticism to practices, and, finally, at the policy or advocacy level.

The NCQA remembers Phyllis Torda