The Michigan Radiation Oncology Quality Consortium: A Novel Initiative to Improve the Quality of Radiation Oncology Care.

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International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics


PURPOSE: Numerous quality measures have been proposed in radiation oncology, and initiatives to improve access to high-complexity care, quality, and equity are needed. We describe the design and evaluate effect of a voluntary statewide collaboration for quality improvement in radiation oncology initiated a decade ago.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: We evaluate compliance before and since implementation of annual metrics for quality improvement, using an observational data set with information from more than 20,000 patients treated in the 28 participating radiation oncology practices. At thrice-yearly meetings, experts have spoken regarding trends within the field and inspired discussions regarding potential targets for quality improvement. Blinded data on practices at various sites have been provided. Following Standards for Quality Improvement Reporting Excellence guidelines, we describe the approach and measures the program has implemented. To evaluate effect, we compare compliance at baseline and now with active measures using mixed effects regression models with site-level random effects.

RESULTS: Compliance has increased, including use of guideline-concordant hypofractionated radiation therapy, doses to targets or normal tissues, motion management, and consistency in delineating and naming contoured structures (a precondition for quality evaluation). For example, use of guideline-concordant hypofractionation for breast cancer increased from 47% to 97%, adherence to target coverage goals and heart dose limits for dose increased from 46% to 86%, motion assessment in patients with lung cancer increased from 52% to 94%, and use of standard nomenclature increased from 53% to 82% for lung patients and from 80% to 94% for breast patients (all P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS: Although observational analysis cannot fully exclude secular trends, contextual data revealing slow uptake of best practices elsewhere in the United States and qualitative feedback from participants suggests that this initiative has improved the consistency, efficiency, and quality of radiation oncology care in its member practices and may be a model for oncology quality improvement more generally.





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