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J Oncol Pract. 2014 Nov;10(6):e408-14. doi: 10.1200/JOP.2014.001515. Epub 2014 Oct 14.

Quality improvement: an assessment of participation and attitudes of medical oncologists.

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Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, Odette Cancer Center, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, Odette Cancer Center, Toronto, Ontario, Canada



Although quality improvement (QI) is an integral part of cancer care, there are few QI publications in the medical oncology literature. We examined the prevailing attitudes of medical oncologists toward QI and causes for the low QI publication rate in the medical oncology literature.


Using a modified Dillman method, we distributed a 13-question online survey to medical oncologists across Canada asking about their attitudes toward and involvement in QI and perceived barriers to publishing QI studies.


We attained a 43% response rate (143 of 332). Of the responding oncologists, 97% (138) agreed that QI was an important aspect of their practice, although only 49% (70) had participated in QI in the past 5 years. Physicians with administrative responsibility were more likely than clinicians to be involved in QI (P = .008). Most QI participants focused on domains of safety (70%) and patient centeredness (67%). Among QI participants, 72% did not publish their findings, because of lack of time (34%), no identifiable journals (14%), and unfamiliarity with QI methodology (10%). Barriers for QI nonparticipants included uncertainty about how to get involved (45%), lack of time (18%), and limited institutional support or recognition (18%). QI participants had greater awareness of recent practice-changing QI publications compared with nonparticipants (P = .003).


Canadian medical oncologists face limitations to participating in and publishing QI initiatives because of lack of knowledge about ongoing initiatives, lack of time, and lack of resources to aid publication. Improving networking opportunities and prioritizing QI at the institutional level can address this need.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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