The Structural Landscape of the Health Care System for Breast Cancer Care

Results from the Los Angeles Women's Health Study

Published in: The Breast journal, v. 15, no. 1, Jan./Feb. 2009, p. [17]-25

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2009

by Diana M. Tisnado, Jennifer Malin, May Lin Tao, Patricia A. Ganz, Danielle E. Rose-Ash, Fang Ashlee Hu, John L. Adams, Katherine L. Kahn

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The structure of health care has been rapidly evolving in response to financial pressures and demands to improve quality. Little work has documented the structure of care and its impact in the context of breast cancer care. The authors conducted a survey to characterize Los Angeles physicians caring for breast cancer patients and the structural landscape of the healthcare system in which they practice. Cross-sectional survey of physicians who treated a population-based cohort of breast cancer patients. The authors surveyed 477 physicians, targeting all Los Angeles County medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and surgeons reported by patients participating in the Los Angeles Women's Health Study (77% response rate). Specialty-specific questionnaires were developed. Items were based on the structure and quality of care literature, cognitive interviews with cancer care specialists, and existing physician survey instruments. Breast cancer care providers in Los Angeles are diverse, with one-third non-white and 46% speaking a non-English language. Group practice is most common, (37% single specialty, 16% group-model HMO, 8% multi-specialty group). Minimal teaching involvement predominates. Mean new breast cancer patient volumes are relatively high (8 per month overall; six for surgeons), representing 46% of new cancer patients. Physicians reported high career satisfaction levels (83₁92%). Physicians were least satisfied with the amount of time spent with patients (82%). Data from this study represent important building blocks for further analyses to determine the impact of structural characteristics on the quality of care that breast cancer patient's experience.

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