Failure to administer recommended chemotherapy: Acceptable variation or cancer care quality blind spot?

Ryan J. Ellis, Cary Jo R. Schlick, Joe Feinglass, Mary F. Mulcahy, Al B. Benson, Sheetal M. Kircher, Tony D. Yang, David D. Odell, Karl Bilimoria, Ryan P. Merkow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Chemotherapy quality measures consider hospitals compliant when chemotherapy is recommended, even if it is not received. This may mask shortcomings in cancer care delivery. Objectives of this study were to (1) identify patient factors associated with failure to receive recommended chemotherapy without a documented contraindication and (2) assess hospital variation in failure to administer recommended chemotherapy. Methods Patients from 2005 to 2015 with breast, colon and lung cancers who failed to receive recommended chemotherapy were identified using the National Cancer Database. Hospital-level rates of failure to administer recommended chemotherapy were calculated, and patient and hospital factors associated with failure to receive recommended chemotherapy were identified by multivariable logistic regression. Results A total of 183 148 patients at 1281 hospitals were analysed. Overall, 3.5% of patients with breast, 6.6% with colon and 10.7% with lung cancers failed to receive recommended chemotherapy. Patients were less likely to receive recommended chemotherapy in all cancers if uninsured or on Medicaid (p<0.05), as were non-Hispanic black patients with both breast and colon cancer (p<0.001). Significant hospital variation was observed, with hospital-level rates of failure to administer recommended chemotherapy as high as 21.8% in breast, 40.2% in colon and 40.0% in lung cancers. Conclusions and relevance Though overall rates are low, failure to receive recommended chemotherapy is associated with sociodemographic factors. Hospital variation in failure to administer recommended chemotherapy is masked by current quality measure definitions and may define a significant and unmeasured difference in hospital quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-112
Number of pages10
JournalBMJ Quality and Safety
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

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Keywords

  • health services research
  • quality measurement
  • surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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