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Paths to Partnership: Veterans Health Administration's Journey in Pilot Testing Breast Cancer Care Quality Measures

Lori Hoffman Hogg
CJON 2014, 18(5), 49-52 DOI: 10.1188/14.CJON.S2.49-52

Prioritizing personalized, proactive, patient-driven health care is among the Veterans Health Administration's (VHA's) transformational initiatives. As one of the largest integrated healthcare systems, the VHA sets standards for performance measures and outcomes achieved in quality of care. Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a hallmark in oncology nursing care. EBP can be linked to positive outcomes and improving quality that can be influenced directly by nursing interventions. VHA oncology nurses had the opportunity to partner with the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), ONS Foundation, and the Joint Commission in the multiyear development of a comprehensive approach to quality cancer care. Building on a platform of existing measures and refining measurement sets culminated in testing evidence-based, nursing-sensitive quality measures for reliability through the ONS Foundation-supported Breast Cancer Care (BCC) Quality Measures Set. The BCC Measures afforded the VHA to have its many sites collectively assess documentation of the symptoms of patients with breast cancer, the use of colony-stimulating factors, and education about neutropenia precautions provided. Parallel paths of the groups, seeking evidence-based measures, led to the perfect partnership in the VHA's journey in pilot testing the BCC Measures in veterans with breast cancer. This generated further quality assessments and continuous improvement projects for spread and sustainability throughout the VHA.

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