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Quality Improvement in Breast Cancer Project: Compliance With Antiresorptive Agents and Changing Patterns of Drug Use

Charles P. Borden, Charles L. Shapiro, Maria Teresa Ramirez, Linda Kotur, and William Farrar

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute participated in NCCN’s Quality Improvement in Breast Cancer initiative. The Opportunities for Improvement (OFI) team elected to improve concordance with the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology for Breast Cancer recommendation that all patients diagnosed with skeletal metastases receive bisphosphonates. Assembling a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, researchers, and administrative stakeholders, the OFI team followed Six Sigma’s approach to problem-solving known as DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, and control). Baseline concordance was 79%, which was below the recommended target range. Initial analysis quickly revealed that 5 cases were concordant, resulting in a new baseline of 89%. The key root cause identified for the remaining gap was lack of documentation. The solution included education regarding documentation for existing staff, in addition to hard-wiring the material into new physician orientation, discussion of all patients with bone disease at tumor board meetings, and improved consistency with use of the new electronic medical record system. After implementation, the reported concordance was 92%, and the lack of documentation problem decreased from 11% in the baseline study to 6%. The team concluded that use of the NCCN Oncology Outcomes Database as an opportunity for clinical quality improvement initiatives not only is possible but also should be an essential element of any clinical program looking to continuously improve.