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Am J Manag Care. 2014;20(12):1041-7.

Validating electronic cancer quality measures at Veterans Health Administration.

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Veterans Affairs - Surgery, 13301 Wilshire Blvd, Bldg 500, Los Angeles, CA 90073. E-mail:



To assess the feasibility and validity of developing electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) of cancer care quality from existing metrics, using electronic health records, administrative, and cancer registry data.


Retrospective comparison of quality indicators using chart abstracted versus electronically available data from multiple sources.


We compared the sensitivity and specificity of eCQMs created from structured data from electronic health records (EHRs) linked to administrative and cancer registry data to data abstracted from patients' electronic health records. Twenty-nine measures of care were assessed in 15,394 patients with either incident lung or prostate cancer from 2007 and 2008, respectively, and who were treated in the Veteran's Health Administration (VHA).


It was feasible to develop eCQMs for 11 of 18 (61%) lung cancer measures, 4 (22%) of which were considered to be valid measures of the care constructs. Among prostate cancer measures, 6 of 11 (55%) were feasible, and 4 (36%) were both feasible and valid. Of the 29 metrics, data was available to create eCQMs for 17 (59%) cancer care metrics, and 8 (28%) were considered valid.


In a large integrated healthcare system with nationally standardized electronic health records, administrative, and cancer registry data, 28% of cancer quality measures developed for chart abstraction could be translated into valid eCQMs. These results raise much concern about the development of electronic clinical quality measures for cancer care, particularly in healthcare environments where data are disparate in both form and location.

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