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Retention of enrollees following a cancer diagnosis within health maintenance organizations in the Cancer Research Network

Population laboratories with complete clinical information on episodes of care are needed to support research on the quality of care delivered to cancer patients. Data resources within the Cancer Research Network (CRN) may overcome many of the limitations of existing cancer databases, but their potential clinical value depends on the stability of the enrolled population. To assess this issue, we studied the retention rates among survivors of the 132 580 patients diagnosed with cancer from January 1, 1993, through December 31, 1998, who were enrolled at five health maintenance organization sites participating in the CRN. Enrollees were followed from cancer diagnosis through death, disenrollment, or the end of follow-up (i.e., December 31, 1999). The retention rate among survivors for all cancers combined at 1 and 5 years after cancer diagnosis was 96.0% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 95.9% to 96.1%) and 83.9% (95% CI = 83.4% to 84.3%), respectively. The proportion of enrollees diagnosed with cancer who remained enrolled and available for evaluation suggests that the CRN is well-suited for studies of the quality of care for cancer patients, survivorship, and long-term outcomes.

Authors: Field TS; Reed G; Reed G; et al.

J Natl Cancer Inst. 2004 Jan 21;96(2):148-52.

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