Exciting Initiatives in Quality of Care

Feb 26, 2013

Improving the quality of cancer care is a critical element of ASCO's mission, and the Society's efforts are overseen by the Quality of Care Committee. In the interview that follows, Chair Monika K. Krzyzanowska, MD, MPH, of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, discusses with ASCO Connection the first Quality Care Symposium, held in November 2012, and plans for 2013.


AC: What were some of the highlights of ASCO's first Quality Care Symposium?
Dr. Krzyzanowska: The Symposium exceeded our expectations in attendance and the quality of the program. There were two highlights for me. One was the collaborative nature of the meeting—having all the different parties at the same table. Providers were by far the largest group, but there were patients and even payers in attendance. Everyone was on the same page about how we can work better together to improve care in a sustainable manner. The other highlight was the breadth of the presentations. The keynote speaker, Dr. Kenneth Kizer, gave a high-level overview of the history of quality of care then discussed how it is evolving, with a focus on the conceptual model of "systemness" as a potential way forward. We also had presentations by single providers talking about how to make cancer care better one oncologist at a time.

The entire Symposium had great energy with a lot of excitement around ASCO CEO Dr. Allen Lichter's presentation of the CancerLinQ™ prototype. It became very clear to me at the Quality Care Symposium that oncologists around the world are facing many of the same challenges and could possibly find similar solutions. It would be wonderful to see increased engagement from our international colleagues in both the Symposium and the Quality of Care Committee.

AC: What was the purpose of the Collaborative Measures Summit before the Symposium?
Dr. Krzyzanowska:
We have identified a gap in that many currently available quality measures focus on either individual cancers or individual providers, and few measures are patient-centered or cross the trajectory of care. The goal of the summit was to identify the top 10 patient-centered cross-cutting areas in quality measurement that can guide our improvement efforts. It took the form of a consensus meeting, in which like-minded organizations and advocacy groups were invited to submit measure concepts ahead of time, which we then discussed and voted on at the summit. The results of the summit will be published as a white paper later this year.

AC: What else does the Committee have planned?
Dr. Krzyzanowska:
We are ready to focus heavily on quality improvement, including educational aspects and practical efforts. In the area of measurement, we're very interested in patient-reported outcomes. Given the recent changes within the United States with regard to quality reporting, we're actively working with the Clinical Practice Committee and other groups to support our members in this changing practice environment. With some of the recent changes and recommendations around palliative care, we're working on a guidance document. Amazing work is being done with QOPI®, and we continue to develop new measures and work toward eQOPI (an electronic reporting tool).

Dr. Krzyzanowska is a medical oncologist and quality expert at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, Toronto. A member since 2000, she also serves on ASCO's Scientific Program Committee and the Journal of Clinical Oncology Editorial Board.

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