Background: Results from the National Lung Cancer Audit demonstrate unexplained variation in outcomes. Peer review with supported quality improvement has been shown to reduce variation in other areas of health care but has not been formally tested in cancer multidisciplinary teams. The aim of the current study is to assess the impact of reciprocal peer-to-peer review visits with supported quality improvement and collaborative working on lung cancer process and outcome measures.
Methods: English lung cancer teams were randomised to usual care or facilitated reciprocal peer review visits followed by 12 months of supported quality improvement. The primary outcome was change in the following national audit indicators; mulitdisciplinary team discussion, histological confirmation, active treatment, surgical resection, small-cell chemotherapy and specialist nurse review. Patient experience was measured using a new lung cancer patient questionnaire in the intervention group.
Results: Thirty teams (31 trusts) entered the intervention group and 29 of these submitted a total of 67 quality improvement plans. Active treatment increased in the intervention group (n=31) by 5.2% compared with 1.2% in the control group (n=48, mean difference 4.1%, 95% CI -0.1 to 8.2%, P=0.055). The remaining audit indicators improved similarly in all groups. Mean patient experience scores in the intervention group did not change significantly during the study but a significant improvement was seen in the scores for the five teams with the worst baseline scores (0.86 to 0.22, P<0.001).
Conclusions: Reciprocal peer review with supported quality improvement was feasible and effective in stimulating quality improvement activity but resulted in only modest improvements in lung cancer treatment rates and patient experience.