SIDEBAR: Going Public with Ovarian Cancer Outcomes  


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It may be that to get care at a high-volume center by a high-volume surgeon ends up costing more upfront, but if your payoff is an additional 4 or 5 or 6 years of survival time, with a good quality of life, then that may very well be interpreted as a good health-care investment.

—Robert E. Bristow, MD, MBA

Commenting on the study finding that most women with ovarian cancer are not being treated with the recommended standard of care, a New York Times editorial noted, “One of the surest ways to improve performance would be to analyze and make public how well individual doctors and hospitals do in treating various diseases.”1

Robert E. Bristow, MD, MBA, lead author of the study and Director, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, University of California, Irvine, considered that a fair approach. “I think we are going to see a time when we have to not only publish our data, but publish our cost of care so that consumers will be able to search for the best value. It may be that to get care at a high-volume center by a high-volume surgeon ends up costing more upfront, but if your payoff is an additional 4 or 5 or 6 years of survival time, with a good quality of life, then that may very well be interpreted as a good health-care investment,” he said. 

“So I think we will see a time when these risk-adjusted outcomes are going to be publicly available, and that is going to drive the market,” he continued. “That is what will reduce utilization of low-volume centers and increase utilization of high-volume centers, and then we get into a self-sustaining cycle, where hopefully the community at large is able to learn from the top performers and raise practice standards across the board, so that the innovators, the places and people doing things that generate improved outcomes at reduced cost, are leading the curve and bringing everyone else along with them.” ■

Reference

1. Editorial board: Inadequate treatment of ovarian cancer. New York Times. Available at nytimes.com. Posted March 13, 2013. 


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