Improving the Quality of Cancer Care in Community Hospitals

Thomas C. Tucker, Mary E. Charlton, Mary C. Schroeder, Jason Jacob, Cheri L. Tolle, B. Mark Evers, Timothy W. Mullett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Cancer patients treated in community hospitals receive less guideline-recommended care and experience poorer outcomes than those treated in academic medical centers or National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Centers. The Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network (MCCAN) was designed to address this issue in Kentucky, the state with the highest cancer incidence and mortality rates in the U.S. Methods: Using data obtained from the Kentucky Cancer Registry, the study evaluated the impact of patients treated in MCCAN hospitals on four evidence-based Commission on Cancer (CoC) quality measures using a before-and-after matched-cohort study design. Each group included 13 hospitals matched for bed size, cancer patient volume, community population, and region (Appalachian vs. non-Appalachian). Compliance with quality measures was assessed for the 3 years before the hospital joined MCCAN (T1) and the 3 years afterward (T2). Results: In T1, the control hospitals demonstrated greater compliance with two quality measures than the MCCAN hospitals. In T2, the MCCAN hospitals achieved greater compliance in three measures than the control hospitals. From T1 to T2, the MCCAN hospitals significantly increased compliance on three measures (vs. 1 measure for the control hospitals). Although most of the hospitals were not accredited by the CoC in T1, 92% of the MCCAN hospitals had achieved accreditation by the end of T2 compared with 23% of the control hospitals. Conclusion: After the MCCAN hospitals joined the Network, their compliance with quality measures and achievement of CoC accreditation increased significantly compared with the control hospitals. The unique academic/community-collaboration model provided by MCCAN was able to make a significant impact on improvement of cancer care. Future research is needed to adapt and evaluate similar interventions in other states and regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)632-638
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Society of Surgical Oncology.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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