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Timeliness in Breast Cancer Care as an Indicator of Quality

Deirdre Kiely
CJON 2014, 18(1), 82-88 DOI: 10.1188/14.CJON.82-88

The current study sought to define best practice for timeliness for a breast cancer program at each diagnostic step. The study was a retrospective review of patients newly diagnosed with invasive breast cancer who were enrolled in the breast cancer database from 2009-2011. A convenience sampling methodology was used for patient selection, and descriptive statistics for various time intervals were calculated for identified data points from abnormal imaging to surgery. No evidence-based practice standards exist for access to breast cancer care. Practice guidelines that include benchmarks for quality measures and an established process to measure patient outcomes would promote high-quality care. An understanding of how practice sites function also would help healthcare providers identify and develop resources to improve patient outcomes. In the current study, the advanced practice nurse (APN) in the practice setting was identified as a key point person in facilitating patients' timely access to healthcare services. The physician and APN practice model was instrumental in influencing the process. The results of the current study provided clinical data to identify benchmarks that a breast oncology practice can use to monitor timeliness as a quality indicator.

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