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Relationship Between Cancer Center Accreditation and Performance on Publicly Reported Quality Measures

Merkow, Ryan P. MD, MS*,†; Chung, Jeanette W. PhD*; Paruch, Jennifer L. MD; Bentrem, David J. MD, MS*,‡; Bilimoria, Karl Y. MD, MS*

doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000000542
Original Articles

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.

It is unknown whether hospital performance on publicly reported quality measures differs by cancer accreditation. We found that accredited cancer centers performed better on most process and patient experience measures but worse performance on most outcome measures. These discordant findings emphasize the need to focus on oncology-specific measurement strategies.

*Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center, Department of Surgery and the Northwestern Institute for Comparative Effectiveness Research (NICER) in Oncology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL

Department of Surgery, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, IL

Department of Surgery, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, Chicago, IL.

Reprints: Ryan P. Merkow, MD, MS, Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center, Department of Surgery and the Northwestern Institute for Comparative Effectiveness Research (NICER) in Oncology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Arthur J. Rubloff Bldg, 420 E Superior St, Chicago, IL 60611. E-mail: RMerkow@facs.org.

This work was presented at the Society of Surgical Oncology Annual Cancer Symposium Plenary Session, March 8th, 2013, in National Harbor, MD.

Disclosure: Supported by the American College of Surgeons Clinical Scholars in Residence Program (R.P.M., J.L.P.), the Northwestern Institute for Comparative Effectiveness Research (NICER) in Oncology (R.P.M., J.W.C., D.J.B., K.Y.B.), and the American Cancer Society-Illinois Division Cancer Control and Population Science Grant (R.P.M., D.J.B., K.Y.B.). The authors have no financial disclosures or conflicts of interest and all meet authorship requirements.

The contents of this article have not been copyrighted or published previously.

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.