Quality of Care
This is a disturbing article from Medscape about the declining quality of cancer care due to shortages of trained oncologists and the rising cost of drugs. Important: for better or worse, this is not a universal issue. In Boston, as in other major cities and many other areas, almost the opposite is true: there are more very well trained oncologists than there are available jobs, and the right drugs for the right situations are prescribed. Read this with scrutiny and more as a concern for the future as it applies to health care in general. As a nation, we are going to have to decide where to put our health care dollars and how to best place our care. For example, does it really make sense to have two world-class Harvard cancer centers (BIDMC and DFCI) within two blocks of one another and then at least three or four other equally good institutions within a few miles and some parts of the country where there is not an NCI designated cancer center for hundreds of miles?
Quality of Cancer Care Falling With Doc Shortages and Rising Costs
March 11, 2011 — A shortage of oncologists and the rising costs of chemotherapy agents, radiation therapy, and imaging tests are making the delivery of quality cancer care increasingly difficult.
In addition, according to a new review by researchers from RTI Health Solutions and Eli Lilly, published in the March 1 issue ofCancer, the definition of quality cancer care differs among patients and physicians.
It is difficult to achieve high-quality cancer care without an understanding of the perceptions of quality, explained lead author Ann Colosia, PhD, a senior associate in market access and outcomes strategy at RTI Health Solutions in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
"With all of the changes in cancer care — more patients and fewer oncologists, higher cost of care, need for reducing costs — we undertook a literature review with the goal of understanding what has been learned about stakeholder perspectives that were collected through surveys and interviews," Dr. Colosia told Medscape Medical News. "The idea was to present the key results of these studies in a coherent summary to oncologists, nurses, patient communities, and payers as part of the efforts to encourage conversation among these groups."
A number of converging factors currently affect quality of care, and will continue to do so in the future. The current efforts at healthcare reform must reflect these different needs to maintain and improve quality while controlling costs.
Dr. Colosia and colleagues conducted a literature review to gain a better understanding of the perceptions that patients, physicians, and managed care professionals have about quality cancer care. They identified 25 sources that described interviews or surveys with patients, providers, or professionals in managed-care settings.
Here is the beginning and then a link: