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Lung Cancer Care is Focus of Quality Improvement / Performance Improvement Initiative 

(January 2014 – June 2015)

The overall goal of this initiative is to improve the quality of care for patients visiting National Jewish Health’s Lung Cancer Center and to extend the best practices from this effort to those who treat lung cancer throughout the United States via high impact enduring materials.  The program is titled “To Measure is to Know: Making the Most of the Latest Evidence and Electronic Data Systems to Enhance the Quality and Patient-Centeredness of Lung Cancer Care.” 

Facilitated by the Office of Professional Education at National Jewish Health with lead faculty Elizabeth Kern, MD, MS, and Laurie Carr, MD, the program addresses gaps in lung cancer treatment as well as in patient education and communication. The program is funded by educational grants from Genentech and Lilly.

“Understanding, and improving the process and outcomes of our care fulfills our mission to discover and to heal,” said Dr. Kern. “Disseminating our findings fulfills the third arm of our mission, which is to educate.”

Since the Lung Cancer Center opened at National Jewish Health in 2010, approximately 100 patients are served each year with 250 chemotherapy treatments administered annually.  While ongoing Performance Improvement (PI) and Quality Improvement (QI) activities exist, as well as an innovative lung cancer registry for tracking patient clinical features, several gaps for improvement have been identified by a “practice redesign” team at National Jewish Health. Made up of providers, administrators, educators and QI staff, the team has assessed the current Lung Cancer Center practices related to quality indicators for best practices.  

Quality indicators to be measured include the numbers of qualified patients receiving chemotherapy for cancer care, and the percentage who receive more than 80% of the planned therapy.  Among patients receiving chemotherapy to improve symptoms of cancer, the frequency and reasons for dose reductions will be studied.  The team will use the electronic lung cancer registry to create a comprehensive synopsis of care that patients can easily access and understand. This is expected to result in improved continuity of care with referring physicians and other institutions.

“A systematic approach to measuring care as it is delivered is a critical first step to understanding how to improve health care quality,” said Dr. Kern. “Our project will refine our methods to measure care in an unobtrusive and sustainable manner.”

In addition to internal collaborations, National Jewish Health has partnered with PeerView Institute for Medical Education (PVI) to develop and disseminate a robust web-based CME activity. This will allow those who treat lung cancer across the U.S. to learn about the successful quality and performance transformations within the NJH Lung Cancer Center, as well as access to tools and strategies that proved most useful and effective.

The program commenced in January of 2014 and ended in June of 2015.