Evaluating Cancer Care Networks; A Case Study of a Lung Cancer Care Network

Document Type : Original Article

Authors

1 Rijnstate, Arnhem, The Netherlands

2 Alliantie Regionale Topzorg (A.R.T.Z.), Arnhem, The Netherlands

3 Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Organisation (IKNL), Utrecht, The Netherlands

4 Netherlands Cancer Registration, Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Organisation (IKNL), Utrecht, The Netherlands

5 Slingeland Hospital, Doetinchem, The Netherlands

6 Ziekenhuis Gelderse Vallei, Ede, The Netherlands

Abstract

Background 
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.
 

Methods 
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.
 

Results 
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.
 

Conclusion 
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.

Keywords


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Articles in Press, Corrected Proof
Available Online from 05 September 2021
  • Receive Date: 01 July 2020
  • Revise Date: 21 June 2021
  • Accept Date: 04 August 2021