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J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr. 2004;(33):142-54.

Use of cancer performance measures in population health: a macro-level perspective.

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Outcomes Research Branch, National Cancer Institute, 6130 Executive Boulevard, MSC 7344, EPN Room 4005, Bethesda, MD 20892-7344, USA.


The use of performance measurement to inform macro-level studies of cancer control and quality of care is receiving increasing interest at the state, national, and international level. This article describes the use of these measures to inform health policy and monitor cancer disparities and disease burden. Applications are discussed in clinical and provider-reported outcomes such as cancer incidence, mortality and survival, and outcome-linked processes of care, and patient-reported outcomes such as health-related quality of life and patient satisfaction/experience with care. The use of economic measures to monitor and evaluate the burden of illness is also discussed. The growing demand for surveillance capability coupled with the need to expand both the quality and breadth of available measure sets, suggests that there is a need to supplement traditional clinical and provider-reported process and outcomes measures with patient-reported outcomes measures such as health-related quality of life and patient satisfaction and experience with care. In addition, there is also a need to broaden and standardize outcome-linked process-of-care measures to improve the ability to measure and monitor incremental progress in improving cancer care. Finally, better measures of indirect costs of cancer care, such as loss productivity and caregiver burden among the aged, would improve national estimates of the cost of illness associated with cancer.

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