BACKGROUND: Quality indicators (QIs) may be used to monitor the quality of neuroblastoma (NBL) care during treatment, in addition to survival and treatment toxicity, which can only be evaluated in the years after treatment. The present study aimed to assess the feasibility of a new set of indicators for the quality of NBL therapy.
PROCEDURE: Seven QIs have been proposed based on literature and consensus of experts: (a) duration of complete diagnostic work-up, (b) prescription of thyroid prophylaxis before metaiodobenzylguanidine imaging, (c) treatment intensity, (d) use of tumor board meetings, (e) number of outpatient visits and sedation procedures during follow-up, (f) protocolled follow-up, and (g) required apheresis sessions. A retrospective data analysis from October 2014 to November 2017 including all patients with NBL in the centralized Princess Máxima Center in the Netherlands was performed to assess these parameters and determine practicality of measurement.
RESULTS: A total number of 72 patients (aged between 2 weeks and 15 years) were analyzed. Adherence to all QIs could be determined for all eligible patients using their electronic medical records. Three indicators were compared over time, and an increase in adherence was observed.
CONCLUSIONS: Assessment of QIs in neuroblastoma treatment is feasible. Seven new QIs were found to be feasible to measure and showed improvement over time for three indicators. Monitoring of these QIs during treatment may provide tools for quality improvement activities and comparisons of treatment quality over time or between centers. Further study is required to investigate their association with long-term outcomes.