• breast cancer;
  • quality of care;
  • quality indicators;
  • disparities



Adherence to quality indicators may be especially important to disease-specific outcomes for uninsured, vulnerable patients. The objective of this study was to measure adherence to National Initiative for Cancer Care Quality (NICCQ) breast cancer quality indicators in a public hospital and compare performance to published rates in a previously collected 5-city cohort.


One hundred five consecutive, newly diagnosed, stage I-III, breast cancer patients at a public hospital (from 2005 to 2007) were identified. Adherence rates to 31 quality indicators were measured by using medical record abstraction. Rates were calculated for individual indicators, aggregated domains, and components of care and were compared with the 5-city cohort results by using a 2-sided test of proportions.


Overall adherence to the NICCQ indicators at the public hospital was 82%, versus 86% in the 5-city cohort. Public hospital adherence was better in 3 domains and components (Management of Treatment Toxicity 95% vs 73%, Referrals 76% vs 15%, and Documentation of Key Clinical Factors 72% vs 64%, P < .05 for all), but it was lower in others (Testing 82% vs 96%, Adjuvant Therapy 76% vs 83%, Surgery 72% vs 86%, Surveillance 63% vs 94%, and Respect for Patient Preferences 52% vs 72%, P < .001 for all).


The results showed that it is possible to deliver breast cancer care to vulnerable patients comparable in quality to the care received by the broader population. Further study should identify the factors that lead to variation in adherence across domains of quality. Cancer 2011. © 2011 American Cancer Society.