Objective: To evaluate differences in hospital structural quality characteristics and assess the association between national publicly reported quality indicators and cancer center accreditation status.
Background: Cancer center accreditation and public reporting are 2 approaches available to help guide patients with cancer to high-quality hospitals. It is unknown whether hospital performance on these measures differs by cancer accreditation.
Methods: Data from Medicare's Hospital Compare and the American Hospital Association were merged. Hospitals were categorized into 3 mutually exclusive groups: National Cancer Institute–Designated Cancer Centers (NCI-CCs), Commission on Cancer (CoC) centers, and “nonaccredited” hospitals. Performance was assessed on the basis of structural, processes-of-care, patient-reported experiences, costs, and outcomes.
Results: A total of 3563 hospitals (56 NCI-CCs, 1112 CoC centers, and 2395 nonaccredited hospitals) were eligible for analysis. Cancer centers (NCI-CCs and CoC centers) were more likely larger, higher volume teaching hospitals with additional services and specialists than nonaccredited hospitals (P < 0.001). Cancer centers performed better on 3 of 4 process measures, 8 of 10 patient-reported experience measures, and Medicare spending per beneficiary than nonaccredited hospitals. NCI-CCs performed worse than both CoC centers and nonaccredited hospitals on 8 of 10 outcome measures. Similarly, CoC centers performed worse than nonaccredited hospitals on 5 measures. For example, 35% of NCI-CCs, 13.5% of CoC centers, and 3.5% of nonaccredited hospitals were poor performers for serious complications.
Conclusions: Accredited cancer centers performed better on most process and patient experience measures but showed worse performance on most outcome measures. These discordant findings emphasize the need to focus on oncology-specific measurement strategies.