Outpatient oncology practices participating in the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI) significantly improved performance in the first 4 years of the program’s existence, particularly in measures assessing newly introduced clinical information.

As reiterated in a statement from ASCO, QOPI is a voluntary, national quality self-assessment program through which outpatient oncology practices can compare the care they provide against guideline recommendations. The initiative was established in 2006; data are collected twice a year.

Self-reported information from 156 of the more than 800 oncology practices now registered with QOPI was used in the analysis. QOPI steering group chair Michael N. Neuss, MD, chief medical officer at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and colleagues described their findings in Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Overall, mean normalized performance scores rose from 71% in 2006 to 85% in 2010, with especially profound improvements seen in measures related to the adoption of new clinical practice standards: Mean scores of measures involving new clinical practices (based on new guidelines or clinical evidence) improved from 5% to 69% over the period being analyzed. Such practices included genetic testing for tumor molecular markers, adequate lymph node examination after surgery in colorectal cancer, and use of the antinausea agent aprepitant when certain chemotherapy regimens are administered.

The ASCO statement noted that practices performed well on numerous quality measures. For example, participants reported consistently high rates (90% or higher) of providing adjuvant chemotherapy for breast, colorectal, and non-small cell lung cancers, as recommended.

However, certain measures did not improve over time, such as those that assess counseling for smoking cessation and for fertility preservation.