The authors sought to measure the timeliness of care for patients with breast cancer at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center throughout the treatment continuum, and to identify sources of variation that may serve as targets for improving care delivery. This report describes the methods that were developed to measure and analyze baseline performance.
Craig A. Bunnell, Katya Losk, Sarah Kadish, Nancy Lin, Judith Hirshfield-Bartek, Linda Cutone, Kristen Camuso, Mehra Golshan and Saul Weingart
Katya Losk, Ines Vaz-Luis, Kristen Camuso, Rafael Batista, Max Lloyd, Mustafa Tukenmez, Mehra Golshan, Nancy U. Lin and Craig A. Bunnell
Background: National guidelines endorse time-dependent quality metrics for breast cancer care. We examined factors associated with delays in chemotherapy initiation at an NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Patients and Methods: We identified 523 patients who received postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy between January 2011 and December 2013 at our center. We defined 28 days from last definitive surgery (LDS) to chemotherapy as the target time frame, and an unacceptable delay in chemotherapy initiation (UCD) as greater than 42 days from LDS. Multivariate regression models were used to identify factors associated with UCD and the impact of Oncotype DX testing in patients with hormone receptor (HR)–positive breast cancer. Results: Median days between LDS and chemotherapy initiation was 34 (interquartile range, 15), with 30% of patients starting within 28 days of LDS and 26.9% having UCD. Tumor characteristics such as subtype and stage affected UCD; patients with HR-positive or HER2-positive tumors were more likely to be delayed compared with those with triple-negative breast cancer. Patients with stage I disease, those undergoing mastectomy with or without immediate reconstruction, and those whose pathology sign-out was greater than 10 days postoperatively were more likely to be delayed. A higher proportion of UCD was found in HR-positive patients (31%) for whom Oncotype DX testing was ordered compared with those in whom it was not ordered (20%). Conclusions: This study provides insight into subpopulations that may be at risk to experience delays in chemotherapy initiation, directing interventions to improve the timeliness of care.