Cancer care increasingly involves complex therapeutic regimens and many different providers, and treatment decisions can have substantial immediate and long-term effects on quality of life. Several organizations, including the
National Cancer Institute and the
NAS Health and Medicine Division, have highlighted the need for improvements in the quality of cancer care delivery. Kaiser Permanente Northern California is committed to providing the highest levels of excellence in cancer care.
Kaiser Permanente Northern California has numerous strengths for conducting delivery research covering the full cancer care continuum, from prevention to end-of-life care. This includes:
- A large, diverse population with high member-retention rates;
- An integrated delivery system with a single, comprehensive electronic health record;
- Complete primary and specialty services for cancer patients;
- An institutional commitment to research in patient-centered care delivery;
- Mechanisms to engage clinicians and program leaders; and
- A high-quality cancer registry and other research databases.
In addition to research conducted within the health plan, scientists participate in numerous multi-institutional research studies and networks, such as the
Cancer Research Network. As a recently designated Community Site for the
NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), Kaiser Permanente is participating in an emerging
Cancer Care Delivery Research (CCDR) program.
Current research includes:
- Assessing practice patterns and potential quality gaps in pulmonary nodule evaluation;
- Examining treatment decisions and patient reported outcomes in low risk prostate cancer;
- Optimizing colonoscopy and fecal immunochemical tests for community-based screening (COLOFIT); and
- Improving personalized care using economic studies of genomic testing, using Oncotype DX and breast cancer as the model.
Past studies include The FLU-FIT Program, which demonstrated the effectiveness of offering home fecal immunochemical tests during influenza vaccination clinics to increase colorectal cancer screening. A study funded by the California Breast Cancer Research Program surveyed patients and clinicians about their knowledge and awareness of breast cancer-related lymphedema. Another study (CHOICES) used a cluster-randomized trial design to evaluate the effectiveness of a telephone counseling intervention tailored to participant health literacy to increase clinical trial participation.