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Breast J. 2017 Mar;23(2):127-137. doi: 10.1111/tbj.12707. Epub 2016 Oct 25.

Prioritizing Patient-Reported Outcomes in Breast Cancer Surgery Quality Improvement.

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University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.


Breast-cancer-specific tools that measure health-related quality of life (HRQOL) were developed for use in research or clinical practice, and little is known about these tools' performance ability for quality improvement. Furthermore, existing tools may not fully reflect all issues that contribute to quality care as seen by patients. Work is needed to identify and validate patient-reported outcome measures for use in quality improvement in breast cancer surgical care. We conducted an exploratory qualitative study in order to better understand what HRQOL domains and processes of care define high quality surgical care for women undergoing mastectomy for breast cancer from both the patient and clinician perspective. We conducted focus groups and one-on-one interviews with 15 women and administered a prioritization questionnaire to participants. We also conducted a prioritization questionnaire among surgical oncologists, general surgeons, and reconstructive surgeons who are members of the Washington State Medical Association. Both the patient and surgeon prioritization questionnaire asked participants to prioritize HRQOL and treatment satisfaction-related aspects of their breast cancer surgical care at key time points before and after mastectomy. A Stakeholder Advisory Panel was convened to review focus group, interview, and prioritization questionnaire results and make recommendations as to patient-reported outcome domains to focus on and existing instruments to use for quality improvement. Patients and clinicians largely agreed on important HRQOL domains, including emotional well-being, education, communication, and process of care. The Stakeholder Advisory Panel, composed of 12 clinicians and five patients, reviewed study findings and existing patient-reported outcomes measurement tools. The panel recommended that the BREAST-Q, a flexible tool with independently validated modules designed for research and clinical care, is an ideal tool to begin developing novel quality improvement benchmarks focused on patient-reported outcomes.


breast cancer; mastectomy; patient-reported outcomes

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