"We found a wide range of IPU-development stages and characteristics for cancer pathways," said Anke Wind, PhD, Department of Psychosocial Research and Epidemiology, Netherlands Cancer Institute. "The sobering finding is that these are not very advanced in their IPU maturity."
This study is part of the international benchmarking project known as BENCH-CAN. The new benchmarking tool is comprised of 51 qualitative indicators and 193 quantitative indicators, based on existing literature and expert consensus. That data was then collected for the year 2012 from the seven pilot cancer centers, all of which are current members of the Organisation of European Cancer Institutes (OECI). The analysis focused mainly on breast cancer pathways, in order to ensure all of the centers involved were able to provide sufficient data for comparison. The research process included an in-person visit to each center to verify data and better understand context.
The researchers concluded with the recommendation that cancer centers explore strategic organizational changes to allow for adequate staffing to both measure and improve their use of IPUs as part of their cancer pathways.
"A more systematic deployment of IPU traits is advised when implementing value-based health care in oncology," said Dr. Wind. The researchers will be following up with a project on Achieving Best possible Cancer treatment outcomes in treatment pathways through benchmarking, a.k.a. the ABC-Benchmarking project, intended to further validate and develop the benchmark format in order to link outcomes data to benchmark characteristics.
"This work is an important step toward more consistent provision of guideline-directed care during and after cancer treatment," said Kathryn Ruddy, MD, MPH, Director of Cancer Survivorship for the Department of Oncology, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, and a Member of the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) Panel for Survivorship.
To read the entire study, visit JNCCN.org. Complimentary access to "Benchmarking Cancer Centers: From Care Pathways to Integrated Practice Units" is available until November 10, 2018. For more about the Netherlands Cancer Institute, visit nki.nl and avl.nl.