Document Type : Original Article
Rijnstate, Arnhem, The Netherlands
Alliantie Regionale Topzorg (A.R.T.Z.), Arnhem, The Netherlands
Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Organisation (IKNL), Utrecht, The Netherlands
Netherlands Cancer Registration, Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Organisation (IKNL), Utrecht, The Netherlands
Slingeland Hospital, Doetinchem, The Netherlands
Ziekenhuis Gelderse Vallei, Ede, The Netherlands
Networks are promoted as an organizational form that enables integrated care as well as enhanced patient outcomes. However, implementing networks is complex. It is therefore important to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of networks to ensure it is worth developing and maintaining them. This article describes the development of an evaluation tool for cancer care networks and the results of a pilot study with a regional lung cancer care network.
This study used a combination of qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods. The qualitative evaluation was based on a framework with 10 standards for the organization of an oncological (tumor-specific) care network. Data for the quantitative evaluation were obtained from the Dutch Cancer Registry. The evaluation was performed at a network of three hospitals collaborating in the field of lung oncology.
The qualitative evaluation framework consisted of 10 standards/questions which were divided into 38 subquestions. The evaluation showed that in general patients are satisfied with the collaboration in the network. However, some improvement points were found such as the need for more attention for the implementation and periodic evaluation of a regional care pathway. The start of a regional multidisciplinary meeting has been a major step for improving the collaboration.
An evaluation tool for (lung) cancer care networks was successfully developed and piloted within a cancer care network. The tool has proven to be a useful method for evaluating collaboration within an oncological network. It helped network partners to understand what they see as important and allowed them to learn about their program’s dynamics. Improvement opportunities were successfully identified. To keep the tool up to date continuous improvement is needed, following the Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) cycle.