Use of Quality Indicators to Evaluate the Care of Patients with Localized Prostate Carcinoma

Published in: Cancer, v. 97, no. 6, Mar. 15, 2003, p. 1428-1435

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2003

by David C. Miller, Mark Litwin, Martin G. Sanda, James E. Montie, Rodney L. Dunn, Jennifer Resh, Howard M. Sandler, John T. Wei

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BACKGROUND: The goal of quality assurance in health care is to preserve and improve patient care. Recently, RAND developed a set of evidence-based candidate indicators for evaluating the quality of care for patients with localized prostate carcinoma; however, the feasibility and sensitivity of these indicators have not been tested in a clinical setting. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the feasibility of measuring these quality indicators and to determine their sensitivity to change in practice patterns over time. METHODS: One hundred sixty-eight men who presented in either 1995 or in 2000 and were treated for localized prostate carcinoma were selected randomly from the University of Michigan tumor registry. A combination of electronic data base review and explicit chart review was used to assess the feasibility of measuring compliance for each indicator. For each indicator in which assessment was feasible, compliance with the RAND indicators was determined for patients in both years. Multivariate regression analysis was used to adjust for potential confounding effects of disease stage, tumor grade, prostate specific antigen (PSA) level, patient age, and therapy. RESULTS: Based on review of available clinical data, measurement of compliance was feasible for 19 of 22 RAND candidate quality indicators (86%). For five indicators, significant differences in documentation (compliance) were detected between 1995 and 2000 (P < 0.05). Treatment received and higher PSA levels were associated independently with documentation of compliance for several indicators (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Measurement of the majority of the RAND quality indicators for the treatment of patients with localized prostate carcinoma was feasible, and improvements in several indicators were observed between 1995 and 2000. Demonstration of such variation, even within a single institution, suggests that the indicators are sufficiently sensitive to detect differences in practice patterns.

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