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Quality Research in Radiation Oncology: A Self-Improvement Initiative 30 Years Ahead of Its Time?

Authors
Journal
Journal of the American College of Radiology
1546-1440
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
2
Issue
12
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.jacr.2005.06.009
Keywords
  • Cancer
  • Patterns Of Care
  • Quality Of Care
  • Radiation Oncology Practice
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Medicine

Abstract

The quality of cancer care in the United States should be better than it is. Society has demanded improvement, but much work remains to be done to define and measure both the current quality of care and the steps needed to optimize such care. Various public and private organizations are directing early efforts toward attempts to determine the quality of selected oncology services as a first step in a broad-based quality improvement process. In contrast, the ACR Patterns of Care Study (PCS) for over 30 years has relied on exemplary voluntary engagement by American radiation oncologists in critical self-assessment and self-improvement as a highly effective pathway to improved practice quality. This article provides an overview of the documented historical and recent impact of PCS research findings on practice and describes the deliberate adaptation of the PCS identity and methodology to the quality-sensitive national environment with the new project name Quality Research in Radiation Oncology. The article concludes with a discussion of the rationale for continuing this unique quality improvement initiative and some of the challenges to this imperative that are being faced.

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