Purpose: There is considerable variation in the quality of cancer care delivered in the United States. Assessing care by using quality indicators could help decrease this variability. The objectives of this study were to formally develop valid quality indicators for melanoma and to assess hospital-level adherence with these measures in the United States. Methods: Quality indicators were identified from available literature, consensus guidelines, and melanoma experts. Thirteen experts ranked potential measures for validity on the basis of the RAND/ University of California, Los Angeles Appropriateness Methodology. Adherence with individual valid indicators and a composite measure of all indicators were assessed at 1,249 Commission on Cancer hospitals by using the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB; 2004 through 2005). Results: Of 55 proposed quality indicators, 26 measures (47%) were rated as valid. These indicators assessed structure (n=1), process (n=24), and outcome (n=1). Of the 26 measures, 10 are readily assessable by using cancer registry data. Adherence with valid indicators ranged from 11.8% to 96.5% at the patient level and 3.7% to 83.0% at the hospital level. (Adherence required that ≥ 90% of patients at a hospital receive concordant care.) Most hospitals were adherent with 50% or fewer of the individual indicators (median composite score, five; interquartile range, four to seven). Adherence was higher for diagnosis and staging measures and was lower for treatment indicators. Conclusion: There is considerable variation in the quality of melanoma care in the United States. By using these formally developed quality indicators, hospitals can assess their adherence with current melanoma care guidelines through feedback mechanisms from the NCDB and can better direct quality improvement efforts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research