Quality of Prostate Carcinoma Care in a Statewide Public Assistance Program

Published in: Cancer, v. 104, no. 5, Sep. 1, 2005, p. 985-992

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2005

by Tracey L. Krupski, Jonathan Bergman, Lorna Kwan, Mark Litwin

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BACKGROUND: The authors evaluated the feasibility of measuring quality of care in a statewide public assistance program for men with prostate carcinoma. METHODS: The sample consisted of 84 men who were followed for > or = 6 months after receiving primary treatment for early-stage prostate carcinoma (55 received radical prostatectomy and 29 received radiotherapy) through a free public program for low-income, uninsured men. Quality was assessed by chart review with 16 indicators previously developed and validated at the RAND Corporation, as well as by telephone and mail surveys that included the University of California at Los Angeles Prostate Cancer Index short form. RESULTS: Quality of care measurement was feasible for 13 (81%) indicators from electronic chart abstraction, administrative documents, and patient questionnaires. Communication between specialist and primary physician was better for men treated with radiotherapy than with surgery (84% vs. 45%, P = 0.004). Subjects treated in private institutions were more likely than those treated in public institutions to have > or = 2 follow-up visits with the treating physician or institution within 1 year of treatment (93% vs. 63%, P = 0.003) and to have documentation of communication with the primary care physician (90% vs. 40%, P << 0.0001). Disease-specific, health-related quality of life 6 months after treatment did not appear to differ between public and private facilities. CONCLUSIONS: The authors found the application of quality of care indicators to be feasible in a statewide public assistance program, but with some differences between public and private providers. These quality of care indicators identified target areas for improvement.

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