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Oncology (Williston Park). 1999 May;13(5A):69-71.

Outcomes assessment in the NCCN: 1998 update. National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

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Center for Outcomes and Policy Research, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


The assessment of outcomes is a major priority of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN). To date, the NCCN's outcomes program has (1) made a systematic inventory of member institutions' existing data sources; (2) begun a collaborative project with the National Cancer Data Bank to compare specific surgical patterns of care in NCCN institutions with national norms; and (3) begun the creation of a prospective outcomes database within the NCCN. As the first step in the database initiative, five NCCN institutions participated in a pilot project in one disease, breast cancer, aimed at developing and testing techniques of data collection, aggregation, and analysis. Six more sites were added to the pilot program in 1998. As of September 1998, data on over 1,000 unique cases had been submitted to the database, with the number of additional cases expected to triple or quadruple within the ensuing 12 months. Future plans call for (1) further expansion of the breast cancer database, both in terms of the number of institutions participating and the scope of data being collected; (2) the addition of a second disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, to the database; and (3) the establishment of partnerships with other organizations for whom the database might provide useful information, such as insurers, pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, and regulatory and accrediting bodies.

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