Over the past 10 years, Wilshire Oncology Medical Group of La Verne, California, has reengineered itself so that all processes—from front-desk operations at all eight locations to the 10 oncologists’ interactions with patients and payers—capture quality data that can be used for robust benchmarking and, ultimately, improving oncology health outcomes and quality.
How exactly did they do it? Linda D. Bosserman, MD, President of the Wilshire Oncology Medical Group, will explain the process in fine detail during the session she leads at ASCO’s first annual Quality Care Symposium, to take place November 30–December 1 in San Diego.
Success Stories: Front and Center
Because the field of quality measurement is young and the meeting is brand new, it is especially important for attendees to hear all about quality programs that worked well in different settings, as well as learn how to marry quality measurements with today’s technology, said Craig Earle, MD, MSc, Co-Chair of the symposium and Director of the Health Services Research Program for Cancer Care Ontario and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.
The meeting has already generated substantial interest. More than 300 abstracts—significantly more than expected in this inaugural meeting—were submitted.
“We’ll have descriptions of successful quality initiatives in community, academic, and international settings,” Dr. Earle explained. “And we’re going to have sessions on how information technology can support quality improvement.”
Other important areas covered will include private and public payer perspectives on quality and how payment reform and accountable care organizations could drive the discipline of quality measurement, Dr. Earle said.
Keynote: Kenneth W. Kizer
UC Davis Health System’s Kenneth W. Kizer, MD, MPH—one of the nation’s preeminent authorities on public health and health-care quality improvement—will give the symposium’s keynote address, “The Evolving Concept of Quality in Cancer Care.”
Like most meetings that ASCO hosts, the Quality Care Symposium will be multidisciplinary, welcoming all providers whose work touches health services research and outcomes in the field of oncology. But unlike other ASCO meetings, it will include health-care industry players such as payers, who will participate as attendees and speakers. After all, quality measurement and reimbursement are becoming more enmeshed.
“Oncologists will learn how to incorporate quality into their practice, and payers and providers will learn about the state of the art in quality measurement, including things that may not be possible now but are on the horizon,” said Dr. Earle.
Quality Is Key, No Matter Your Aim
ASCO Past President and current Co-Chair of the symposium Douglas W. Blayney, MD, noted that no matter where you are in your career, or what your exact aim is, if you’re focused on the emerging discipline of quality measurement, the conference is not to be missed. Dr. Blayney is Ann and John Doerr Medical Director and Stanford Cancer Center Professor of Medicine in Palo Alto, California.
“You should attend if you’re a policymaker; if you’re attempting to influence government policy; if you’re attempting to influence policy around third-party payment mechanisms; and you should attend if you’re an advocate who has a strong role and a strong interest in shaping the quality agenda,” Dr. Blayney said.
ASCO desires to keep the patient front and center at the Quality Care Symposium, now and in the future, Dr. Earle said. “Reaching out to patient advocates and patient advocacy organizations is very important, because they are the ultimate determiners of quality. If we cure people’s cancer and they don’t get back to their normal life, then that’s not a real quality outcome. So we want to think, ‘How can we incorporate the view of the patient and the patient advocate into these quality measures and into the quality improvement interventions that may come out of this and subsequent meetings?’”
For more information and to register for the symposium, go to quality2012.asco.org. ■
© 2012. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.