The American Society for Radiation Oncology announced Thursday, Feb. 13, that it has received a new contract from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to formulate quality metrics measuring its radiation therapy services.
During the duration of the one-year agreement, ASTRO will develop quality indicators for radiation treatments administered to veterans with head and neck, breast and gastrointestinal cancers, according to a news announcement. The goal is to measure individual cases against national benchmarks and pinpoint areas for improvement.
“This pioneering effort leverages evidence-based guidelines and the consensus of medical experts in a new and powerful way to optimize care for military veterans,” said Theodore L. DeWeese, MD, chair of the ASTRO Board of Directors, in the announcement. “VA’s leadership in this area is impressive. ASTRO is honored to work with VA in this effort to promote high quality care to our nation’s veterans.”
Specifically, ASTRO said its new metrics will support the VA Radiation Oncology Quality Surveillance program, established to standardize and improve services for the more than 16,000 veterans receiving radiation oncology care across the VA’s 40 clinics each year.
The VA’s oncology program combines IT with clinical expertise, offering physicians real-time, evidence-based feedback on quality-related performance areas. For example, radiation dosing or treatment data can be used by in the platform to assess the quality of a patient’s care and compare it to other VA physicians' services.
Both organizations had previously worked together on a pilot study, which evaluated 1,500 patient cases across each of the 40 VA clinics. An analysis of that research, published last month, found more than 80% of cases met or exceeded quality standards.