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Keywords:

  • supportive oncology;
  • quality indicators;
  • pain;
  • dyspnea;
  • care planning

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Although measuring the quality of symptom management and end-of-life care could help provide a basis for improving supportive care for advanced cancer, few quality indicators in this area have been rigorously developed or evaluated.

METHODS:

The authors conducted a pilot evaluation of a comprehensive set of 92 supportive oncology quality indicators, Cancer Quality-ASSIST, including outpatient and hospital indicators for symptoms commonly related to cancer and its treatment and information and care planning. They operationalized the indicators and developed an electronic abstraction tool and extensive guidelines and training materials. Quality assurance nurses abstracted the medical records for 356 advanced cancer patients in 2 settings: a Veterans Administration hospital and an academic hospital and cancer center. The authors evaluated the indicators' feasibility, inter-rater reliability, and validity.

RESULTS:

The authors successfully evaluated 78 indicators across the domains; results were similar in the 2 settings. They could not feasibly evaluate 3 indicators because of low prevalence; 22 indicators had significant inter-rater reliability issues, 9 had significant validity issues, and 3 had both reliability and validity issues, leaving a set of 41 indicators most promising for further testing and use in this population, with an overall kappa score of 0.85 for specified care.

CONCLUSIONS:

Of 92 Cancer Quality-ASSIST quality indicators for symptoms, treatment toxicity, and information and care planning, 41 were sufficiently feasible, reliable, and valid to be used for patients with advanced cancer in these settings. This set of indicators shows promise for describing key supportive care processes in advanced cancer. Cancer 2010. © 2010 American Cancer Society.