Changes Radiation Management of Patients in Community Cancer Centers

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(ChemotherapyAdvisor) –, a website that allows community radiation oncologists to present and review treatment plans and cases in real time with highly specialized, disease site-specific experts, has changed patient management in community cancer centers, a study reported during ASCO's inaugural Quality Care Symposium in San Diego, CA.

In reference to the program, which is funded by the Improving Cancer Care Grant of the ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation, Patricia H. Hardenbergh, MD, of Shaw Regional Cancer Center, Edwards, CO indicated 650 community radiation oncology physicians from 49 states and 19 countries have enrolled online; enrolled physicians are ASCO members.

Currently, disease sites include breast, head and neck, gastrointestinal, gynecologic, prostate, central nervous system, pediatric, and lung cancers and lymphoma. As each session concludes, participants are asked to complete a questionnaire with respect to overall quality and relevance and how it might result in practice changes.

In the initial period from December 2010 through June 2012, 23 disease specialists led 188 chart rounds sessions. Average attendance ratio was 10 community physician members to 1 disease specialist.

On a 5-point Likert scale, with 5 representing the greatest impact possible, mean response to feedback questions is session quality, 4.7; time used effectively, 4.6; discussions relevant to daily practice, 4.7; and session likely to result in a change in practice, 4.0.

“More specifically, members reported that they would make the following changes in their practice,” Dr. Hardenbergh stated: change in clinical management of the radiation patient, 35%; change in selection of patients for radiation, 17%; change in radiation fields, 15%; and change in radiation prescription dose, 9%.

“Future directions of this project are aimed at demonstrating how these changes could result in significant improvements in cancer care across the United States,” she concluded.


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