Quality of gastric cancer care in designated cancer care hospitals in Japan

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ObjectiveTo develop a set of process-of-care quality indicators (QIs) that would cover a wide range of gastric cancer care modalities and to examine the current state of the quality of care provided by designated cancer care hospitals in Japan.DesignA retrospective medical record review.SettingsEighteen designated cancer care hospitals throughout Japan.ParticipantsA total of 1685 patients diagnosed with gastric cancer in 2007.Main Outcome MeasuresProvision of care to eligible patients as described in the 29 QIs, which were developed using an adaptation of the RAND/UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) appropriateness method by a panel of nationally recognized experts in Japan.ResultsOverall, the patients received 68.3% of the care processes recommended by the QIs. While ‘deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis before major surgery’ was performed for 99% of the cases, ‘documentation before endoscopic resection’ was completed for only 12% of the cases. The chemotherapy care was less likely to meet the QI standards (61%) than pre-therapeutic care (76%), surgical treatment (66%) and endoscopic resection (71%; overall difference: P < 0.001). A comparison based on the types of care showed that documentation and patient explanation were performed less frequently (60 and 53%, respectively) than were diagnostic and therapeutic processes as recommended in the QIs (85%; overall P < 0.001).ConclusionsAlthough many required care processes were provided, some areas with room for improvement were revealed, especially with respect to chemotherapy, documentation and patient explanation. Continuous efforts to improve the quality and develop a system to monitor this progress would be beneficial in Japan.

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