Specifically, Bilimoria emphasizes, the research may suggest serious problems with the accepted way in which administrative claims data is adjusted for patient severity and case mix. Perhaps the algorithms do not reflect that patients treated at cancer-accredited hospitals are much sicker and more complex to start with, he says.
Also, his study didn't change his own mind about where he would go if he had cancer. He'd still seek care at one of the NCI's 68 accredited cancer hospitals or next, a CoC-approved hospital, he says. They are generally larger, and have more cancer-treatment resources and expertise, he says.
Bilimoria's team conducted the research to compare the only two ways patients have today to objectively evaluate quality of cancer at a hospital.
They can look at publicly reported measures on Hospital Compare as a proxy, even though most of those measures do not relate specifically to cancer care. Or, they can look at whether the hospital is accredited by a national organization such as the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer or the NCI.
Those organizations periodically inspect the hospitals they agree to approve, requiring documentation for certain programs, training, and expertise.
For their research project, Bilimoria and his team compared 10 outcome measures, including death after serious morbidity, a composite of serious complications, central line bloodstream and catheter-associated urinary tract infections, glycemic control, and colon surgical site infection.