Curative-intent therapy for stage II/III rectal cancer is necessarily complex. Current guidelines by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommend preoperative concurrent chemoradiation followed by resection and additional adjuvant chemotherapy. We used standard quality improvement methodology to implement a cost-effective intervention that reduced the time from diagnosis to treatment of patients with stage II/III rectal cancer by approximately 30% in a large public hospital in Houston, Texas. Implementation of the program resulted in a reduction in time from pathologic diagnosis to treatment of 29% overall, from 62 to 44 days. These gains were cost neutral and resulted from improvements in scheduling and coordination of care alone. Our results suggest that: (1) quality improvement methodology can be successfully applied to multidisciplinary cancer care, (2) effective interventions can be cost neutral, and (3) effective strategies can overcome complexities such as having multiple sites of care, high staff turnover, and resource limitations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy