Background: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. In recent years, significant advancements have been made in the molecular characterization of tumors, and the availability of new agents to treat non-small-cell lung cancer has increased. Despite these achievements, optimal care of patients with this condition remains less than ideal. Although national quality measures and guideline recommendations provide the necessary framework for patient care, routine self-assessment of adherence to these measures is required for physician practice improvement. To this end, a performance improvement initiative that met national continuing medical education standards was designed.
Methods: Focusing on non-small-cell lung cancer patient care, oncologists underwent a three-step process that included a self-assessment of predetermined performance measures, the development and implementation of an actionable plan for improvement, and a second round of assessment to measure practice change.
Results: A total of 440 unique patient charts were reviewed by 22 practicing oncologists. Participants demonstrated high baseline performance levels of established quality measures, such as inclusion of the patient's pathology report and assessment of smoking history. Significant gains were observed in the areas of supportive care, including assessment of the patient's emotional well-being and the use of molecular markers in diagnostic and treatment decision making.
Conclusions: Data from this study support the value of performance improvement initiatives to help increase physician delivery of evidence-based care to patients.