The National Cancer Institute Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP): Sustaining Quality and Reducing Disparities in Guideline-Concordant Breast and Colon Cancer Care
BACKGROUND: The National Cancer Institute Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP) pilot was designed to improve quality of cancer care and reduce disparities at community hospitals. The NCCCP's primary intervention was the implementation of the Commission on Cancer Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS). The RQRS is a hospital-based data collection and evaluation system allowing near real-time assessment of selected breast and colon cancer quality of care measures. Building on previous NCCCP analyses, this study examined whether improvements in quality cancer care within NCCCP hospitals early in the program were sustained and whether improvements were notable for minority or underserved populations.
METHODS: We compared changes in concordance with three breast and two colon cancer quality measures approved by the National Quality Forum for patients diagnosed at NCCCP hospitals from 2006 to 2007 (pre-RQRS), 2008 to 2010 (early-RQRS), and 2011 to 2013 (later-RQRS). Data were obtained from NCCCP sites participating in the Commission on Cancer Rapid Quality Reporting System. Logistic regression analyses were performed to identify predictors of concordance with breast and colon cancer quality measures.
RESULTS: The sample included 13,893 breast and 5,546 colon cancer patients. After RQRS initiation, all five quality measures improved significantly and improvements were sustained through 2013. Quality of care measures showed sustained improvements for both breast and colon cancer patients and for vulnerable patient subgroups including black, uninsured, and Medicaid-covered patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Quality improvements in NCCCP hospitals were sustained throughout the duration of the program, both overall and among minority and underserved patients. Because many individuals receive cancer treatment at community hospitals, facilitating high-quality care in these environments must be a priority. The Oncologist 2017;22:1-8 IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Quality improvement programs often improve practice, but the methods are not maintained over time. The implementation of a real-time quality reporting system and a network focused on improving quality of care sustained quality improvement at select community cancer centers. The NCCCP pilot increased numbers of patients receiving guideline-concordant care for breast and colon cancer in community settings, and initial improvements noted in earlier years of RQRS were sustained into later years, both overall and among minority and underserved patients. National initiatives that improve care for diverse patient groups are important for reducing and eliminating barriers to care.