So much health services research is underway in oncology that, rather than relegating it to just a portion of the Annual Meeting, ASCO has decided to launch a meeting devoted entirely to the emerging discipline. The first annual Quality Care Symposium will take place November 30 through December 1 in San Diego.
The time is right for focusing on quality in cancer care, said Douglas W. Blayney, MD, Ann and John Doerr Medical Director and Stanford Cancer Center Professor of Medicine, former President of ASCO, and currently Cochair of the symposium.
“There is so much going on in the space that we figured this was a great time to bring together heath services researchers, quality researchers, and people implementing quality programs in their practices,” he said, adding that the flurry of interest and activity dovetails nicely with ASCO’s Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®), which is just finishing up an analysis of 5 years of data.
All Disciplines Welcome
The 2-day symposium will bring together top leaders in the field to share strategies and methods for measuring and improving the quality of cancer care, with a particular focus on promoting innovation, strategic planning, engaging patients in quality improvement activities, and ways to eliminate disparities in quality improvement reporting. The meeting will also zero in on optimizing comparative effectiveness research and activities in oncology.
As with all ASCO meetings, the new symposium will be multidisciplinary, welcoming academics, researchers, fellows, nurses, physician assistants, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, and surgical oncologists.
200 Different Diseases
In recent years, a number of conferences focusing on quality of care have been launched, but this is the only one that focuses on outcomes in cancer specifically. Measuring quality outcomes in oncology is a massive task compared to doing so in other disease groups, according to Dr. Blayney. “Oncology is over 200 different cancers; measuring processes and outcomes in 200 different diseases is a huge challenge.”
One topic that he expects to be hot is the integration of information into quality improvement activities at the practice level—both in private practices and hospital settings. “Folks are eager to talk about what they’ve done that works,” he said. The interactive nature of the symposium sessions will offer the opportunity for networking and sharing experiences.
Sessions at the conference will address topics such as these:
Dr. Blayney commented that a concerted focus on developing and adhering to precise measurements for quality of care is just getting off the ground as a discipline, and consensus-building meetings like this will help those efforts make necessary leaps.
“We’re good at studying processes and recording adherence to processes,” he said. “Where we need to go is to record our outcomes in care, develop outcomes in care to study, and figure out how this translates into cost savings with efficient care, and most importantly, care that is valuable to the patient. This is where we need to engage patients in determining outcomes that are meaningful to them.”
Summaries of new, ongoing, and updated research in the area of quality and other health services research will be acceptable for submission and presentation. A limited number of merit awards will be given to fellows and residents who submit high-quality abstracts. Merit award winners will receive a monetary award, as well as complimentary registration.
For a list of topic categories and to register for the symposium, go to quality2012.asco.org. ■
© 2012. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.