Deakin University

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Systematic review of quality improvement interventions directed at cancer specialists

journal contribution
posted on 2013-04-20, 00:00 authored by M Coory, Vicki WhiteVicki White, K S Johnson, D J Hill, M Jefford, S Harrison, I Winship, J Millar, G G Giles
PURPOSE: Summary evidence on the effectiveness of quality improvement interventions (QIIs) directed at cancer specialists is needed for two reasons. First, there are some innovations over which only cancer specialists have control (eg, surgical technique or chemotherapy regimen). Second, implementation of QIIs has opportunity costs; the time and money spent on an ineffective QII might be better spent on direct patient care. METHODS: Medical Subject Headings and text words for "quality improvement" were combined with those for "neoplasm" to search MEDLINE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and EMBASE from January 1990 to August 2012 for studies of QIIs directed at cancer specialists (eg, medical/radiation oncologist, surgeon). All study designs were included. RESULTS: Five thousand seven hundred eighty-one articles were screened, but only 12 met the inclusion criteria, including three cluster randomized controlled trials (cRCTs), seven uncontrolled before-and-after comparisons, and two cross-sectional studies. All 12 studies were conducted in response to concerns about quality of care. No cRCT showed a benefit of the QIIs tested. Some uncontrolled before-and-after and cross-sectional studies reported a benefit from the QII, but these studies are difficult to interpret because of concerns about uncontrolled confounding. Interventions in all studies were multifaceted, but descriptions of different components were limited, and only one study examined their separate impact. CONCLUSION: The published evidence about how to facilitate timely and consistent adoption of new clinical knowledge by cancer specialists into everyday clinical practice is thin. More investment is needed in research about the solution (QIIs) to match the investment in research about the problem (inconsistent/slow adoption of innovative cancer treatments).



Journal of Clinical Oncology






1583 - 1591


American Society of Clinical Oncology


Alexandria, Va.







Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2013, American Society of Clinical Oncology