Physician and Practice Characteristics Influencing Tumor Board Attendance

Results from the Provider Survey of the Los Angeles Women's Health Study

Published In: Journal of Oncology Practice, v. 7, no. 2, Mar. 2011, p. 103-110, [1]

Posted on RAND.org on March 01, 2011

by Kevin S. Scher, Diana M. Tisnado, Danielle E Rose, John L. Adams, Clifford Y. Ko, Jennifer Malin, Patricia A. Ganz, Katherine L. Kahn

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BACKGROUND: Coordination of care has grown in importance with the advent of new modalities of treatment that require specialized expertise. In cancer care, multidisciplinary approaches have shown improvements in quality of care. Tumor boards may provide a mechanism for improving coordination of care. We evaluated physician and practice characteristics that predict frequency of tumor board attendance. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This cross-sectional study used data obtained by surveying physicians of a population-based sample of women with incident breast cancer. Physicians were queried regarding tumor board attendance, specialty [medical oncologist (MO), radiation oncologist (RO), surgeon at a hospital with American College of Surgeons accreditation (ACOSSg) and surgeon without such affiliation (non-ACOSSg)], physician characteristics (gender, race/ethnicity, teaching involvement, patient volume, ownership interest) and practice setting (type, size, reimbursement method). Univariate, bivariate, and multivariate analyses were performed for the dependent variable characterizing provider report of frequency of tumor board attendance. RESULTS: Most surveyed physicians (83%) report attending tumor board weekly (58%) or monthly (25%). Specialty and higher patient volumes are significant predictors of more frequent attendance. Compared with the most prevalent specialty category (low-volume ACOSSgs), high-volume MOs attend more frequently (P = .01) and low volume non-ACOSSgs attend less frequently (P = .00). CONCLUSIONS: Tumor board provides a structure for engaging providers in discussion of cancer cases that is designed to enhance quality of care. Tumor board agendas and formalized institution-wide policies could be designed to engage low-frequency attendees as a means to improve quality measures, promote multidisciplinary care, and potentially improve health outcomes.

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