Institute Initiatives Help Oncologists Integrate Evidence-based Guidelines in Practice

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Building on ASCO’s longstanding commitment to drive quality, value, and accountability in cancer care, the Institute for Quality’s initiatives provide oncologists with resources to ensure that every patient receives the highest level of cancer care.

Established in 2011, the Institute for Quality oversees the development of clinical practice guidelines; the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI); the QOPI Certification Program (QCP); CancerLinQ, ASCO’s newly developed rapid learning system; and other quality initiatives and partnerships.

Since issuing its first practice guideline in 1994, the organization’s expert panels have issued more than 30 guidelines and guideline updates, four provisional clinical opinions, and two guideline endorsements.

Quality Oncology Practice Initiative

To spur the integration of such guidelines into clinical practice, in 2006, ASCO developed QOPI—a program that gives oncology practices quality measurement and improvement tools. Participating practices that meet the highest standards of care may receive a 3-year certification. More than 750 practices have registered in QOPI since its launch, and nearly 140 practices have been certified since QCP was established in 2010.

Other quality-related initiatives housed within the Institute for Quality include ASCO’s leadership in the development of quality measures for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Physician Quality Reporting System; collaborations with other organizations to establish quality measures for safe chemotherapy administration and breast and colorectal cancer care; and other partnerships aiming to drive quality improvements.

New CancerLinQ Prototype

The latest addition to the Institute for Quality is CancerLinQ—a tool that builds on all of the other quality initiatives, harnessing technological advances to connect oncology practices, measure quality and performance, and provide physicians with decision support in real time. The system will aggregate clinical data that is currently housed in disparate medical record systems that lack interoperability. This multiphase initiative is in the first stage, which involves the development of a breast cancer-specific prototype.

ASCO President Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, noted that, because a relatively small number of adults with cancer participate in clinical trials, the majority of data collected in care delivery remains underutilized, contributing little to advance understanding and spur treatment innovations. CancerLinQ has “transformative potential,” he said, to facilitate the development of guidelines for the vast, often unstudied aspects of cancer care and to inform the further evolution of existing guidelines.

Although the Institute for Quality is the organization’s center for explicitly quality-related initiatives, “all of the efforts within ASCO can ultimately be tracked back to the goal of cancer care quality improvement, which is at the core of ASCO’s mission,” said Dr. Hudis. ■

© 2013. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.