(HealthDay News) — For medical oncology practices in the United States, participation in the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI) correlates with improvements in measured performance, especially with regard to newly introduced clinical information, according to research published online March 11 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Michael N. Neuss, M.D., of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues surveyed 156 medical oncology practices in the United States to determine whether QOPI scores have improved over time and, if so, which factors were associated with improvement.

From 2006 to 2010, average adherence to quality indicators for the medical oncology practices surveyed improved from 0.71 to 0.85. Many measures did not change over time. However, the greatest improvement was seen in the introduction of new clinical information. The least improvement was seen in the management of symptoms/toxicity. Overall adherence to quality care standards was highest in breast cancer and lowest in non-small cell lung cancer.

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“In summary, QOPI provides a structure for oncology practice group self-examination that has been widely adopted and shows practice improvement over time,” the authors write. “The absence of improvement in which wide performance gaps remain in some specific areas demonstrates the opportunity to cross the quality chasm. The development of tools and incentives to inspire the improvement are obvious and important next steps.”

Two authors disclose payments or honoraria received in connection with the study.

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