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Improving Palliative Care for Cancer
Ongoing efforts to standardize reporting of cancer stage and comorbidity should receive a high priority and be fully supported.
Efforts to identify quality of cancer care measures should be coordinated with ongoing national efforts regarding quality of care.
Recommendation 2: Congress should increase support to the Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the National Program ofCancer Registries (NPCR) to improve the capacity of states to achievecomplete coverage and timely reporting of incident cancer cases. NPCR’sprimary purpose is cancer surveillance, but NPCR, together with the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, has great potential to facilitate national, population-based assessments of the qualityof cancer care through linkage studies and by serving as a sample framefor special studies.
Recommendation 3: Private cancer-related organizations should jointhe American Cancer Society and the American College of Surgeons toprovide financial support for the National Cancer Data Base. Expandedsupport would facilitate efforts underway to report quality benchmarksand performance data to institutions providing cancer care.
Recommendation 4: Federal research agencies (e.g., NCI, CDC,AHRQ, HCFA) should support research and demonstration projects toidentify new mechanisms to organize and finance the collection of data forcancer care quality studies. Current data systems tend to be hospital based,while cancer care is shifting to outpatient settings. New models are neededto capture entire episodes of care, irrespective of the setting of care.
Recommendation 5: Federal research agencies (e.g., National Institutes of Health [NIH], Food and Drug Administration [FDA], CDC, andVA) should support public-private partnerships to develop technologies,including computer-based patient record systems and intranet-based communication systems, that will improve the availability, quality, and timeliness of clinical data relevant to assessing quality of cancer care.
Recommendation 6: Federal research agencies (e.g., NCI, AHRQ,VA) should expand support for training in health services research andtraining of professionals with expertise in the measurement of quality ofcare and the implementation and evaluation of interventions designed toimprove the quality of care.