Cancer Care Quality

Measuring Cancer Care Quality in California

This proof-of-concept demonstration project, funded by the California Health Care Foundation, explored how state cancer registry data can be combined with commercial claims and encounter data to measure cancer care quality for physician organizations, as either data source alone is insufficient. The project linked these two data sources and developed specifications to make the combined data available as standardized measures. Results—which were calculated statewide, regionally, and for physician organizations serving commercial HMO enrollees in California—revealed geographic variation in the quality of cancer treatment. Project challenges included lengthy data access processes, a low data linkage rate, and insufficient sample size for reliable measurement and analysis at the PO level.

An IHA white paper—Linking Cancer Registry and Claims Data for Quality Measurement—summarizes findings from the project and offers tangible suggestions for improving data linkages and timeliness, expanding allowable uses of data, and streamlining the data access process.