(HealthDay News) — A quality improvement (QI) collaborative can improve cancer screening, according to a study published online Nov. 16 in JAMA Network Open.

Rachel Hae-Soo Joung, M.D., from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues examined whether participation in a nationwide QI collaborative, Return-to-Screening, was associated with restoration of cancer screening after the pandemic. Project-specific targets were established based on differences in mean monthly screening test volumes (MTV) between representative prepandemic (September 2019 to January 2020) and pandemic (September 2020 to January 2021) periods. Evidence-based screening interventions were implemented by local QI teams from June to November 2021.

The researchers found that 676 (79 percent) of 859 cancer screening QI projects reached their target MTV. No hospital characteristics were associated with an increased likelihood of achieving target MTV, apart from disease site (odds ratio, 2.8 for lung versus breast). There was a decrease in mean MTV seen preintervention (April to May 2021; slope, −13.1 tests per month). Relative to the preintervention trends, interventions were associated with a significant immediate (slope, 101.0 tests per month) and sustained (slope, 36.3 tests per month) increase in MTV. Compared with the prepandemic period, pandemic period, and preintervention period, additional screening tests were performed during the intervention period.

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“The success in achieving target goals by the majority of participating programs, irrespective of their differences, suggests that national QI collaboratives may be an effective large-scale approach to improving cancer care,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to FAKnostics.

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