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The health disparities cancer collaborative: a case study of practice registry measurement in a quality improvement collaborative.

Haggstrom DA, Clauser SB, Taplin SH. The health disparities cancer collaborative: a case study of practice registry measurement in a quality improvement collaborative. Implementation science : IS. 2010 Jun 4; 5:42.

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BACKGROUND: Practice registry measurement provides a foundation for quality improvement, but experiences in practice are not widely reported. One setting where practice registry measurement has been implemented is the Health Resources and Services Administration's Health Disparities Cancer Collaborative (HDCC). METHODS: Using practice registry data from 16 community health centers participating in the HDCC, we determined the completeness of data for screening, follow-up, and treatment measures. We determined the size of the change in cancer care processes that an aggregation of practices has adequate power to detect. We modeled different ways of presenting before/after changes in cancer screening, including count and proportion data at both the individual health center and aggregate collaborative level. RESULTS: All participating health centers reported data for cancer screening, but less than a third reported data regarding timely follow-up. For individual cancers, the aggregate HDCC had adequate power to detect a 2 to 3% change in cancer screening, but only had the power to detect a change of 40% or more in the initiation of treatment. Almost every health center (98%) improved cancer screening based upon count data, while fewer (77%) improved cancer screening based upon proportion data. The aggregate collaborative appeared to increase breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening rates by 12%, 15%, and 4%, respectively (p < 0.001 for all before/after comparisons). In subgroup analyses, significant changes were detectable among individual health centers less than one-half of the time because of small numbers of events. CONCLUSIONS: The aggregate HDCC registries had both adequate reporting rates and power to detect significant changes in cancer screening, but not follow-up care. Different measures provided different answers about improvements in cancer screening; more definitive evaluation would require validation of the registries. Limits to the implementation and interpretation of practice registry measurement in the HDCC highlight challenges and opportunities for local and aggregate quality improvement activities.

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