Oncology Quality Studies: Prepare the Summary Analysis

In this fifth installment of our series on oncology quality studies we will discuss the preparation and writing of the summary analysis and study results. See links for parts 1-4 below. 

Although there are no official content outlines for writing the final report, it is important to have a written document that states the project’s goals, lists the strategies used to achieve the goals, and describes the specific actions that were taken to implement the interventions selected by the Cancer Committee to address the identified problem. This should be followed by a summary and recommendations for the future.

Before writing begins, here are some key questions to discuss with the project team to gather information:  

  • Were the study goal(s) accomplished? If yes, how? Or, if no, why not?
  • What barriers were identified during the study and how did the team evaluate and overcome them?
  • What tables, graphs or images are needed to display the study results in an organized, readable manner? What tools or software is needed to produce the graphics?
  • Who will be writing the final analysis, either in part or in whole? Who needs to review and contribute to the study results and recommendations sections?
  • When is the final report due for Cancer Committee review? Make sure the project team has plenty of time to write and review the report before presenting it to the Cancer Committee.

Other information you will need includes:

  • Project team roster or names, credentials, and roles of all the members who participated in the study.
  • Articles, publications, or guidelines that were used to establish the benchmarks or performance ratings.
  • Project calendar showing the date the study was launched, interim reports to the Cancer Committee, dates interventions were launched, and any other milestones implemented.
  • Study documents, tools or resources used to either conduct the study or those that were developed during the project.

Depending on the accreditation program requirements, your written report may have some required components. In general, the following outline may be used:  

  • Background or Overview
  • Problem Statement
    • Includes a statement of the problem, and
    • Baseline numerical metric data to support the goal.
    • Study start date and completion, or timeframe.  
  • Methodology
    • Identifies subject matter experts and members of the project team.
    • Identifies tools or methodology that were used to conduct the study, i.e., PDSA.
    • Describe the gaps or factors that contributed to the problem.
    • Discusses the project timeline or calendar or any challenges that it may have presented for the team.  
    • Document the milestones, status updates to the Cancer Committee, dates interventions were implemented, dates data was pulled for review, what was measured, etc.
    • Describe the expected and final outcomes from the analysis and implementation of the interventions. Was the goal achieved? What were the unexpected results?
  • Interventions and Ongoing Analysis
    • Discuss the interventions, why they were chosen, and how they were implemented?
    • What challenges or barriers were discovered and how did the project team resolve them?
    • Include interim data or metrics that were used to show results of the interventions.
    • Identify how the new processes or procedures will continue after the final study report is written.
  • Summary
  • Briefly summarize the entire project and activities undertaken by the team.
  • Recommendations
    • Provide recommendations to the Cancer Committee for ongoing analysis or activities related to the project after the initial study is completed.  
    • List any proposed future studies or actions that should be taken and when.      
    • Describe how the Cancer Committee, or any other individual or department, may be needed for ongoing analysis.
    • CoC-accredited programs will need to involve their Cancer Liaison Physician (CLP) in the project activities. It may be appropriate for the CLP to write the summary and/or recommendations sections in the final report.
  • References
    • List the references and source documents used in the study in a standard MLA-style format.
    • Include references for any benchmarks, cancer program standards, research or publications used to validate the study process or to establish study goals.
  • Appendices
    • Attach copies of any forms, patient education materials, documents or resources developed during the study or those that will be used to monitor ongoing study results.  

The final report is the document that tells the entire story for the project. Its content should be well-written and focused on the problem and steps taken to reduce or eliminate it. When telling any story, use of illustrations is essential for the reader to understand what the problem was initially, and the steps taken to resolve it. Finding a way to extract the data from spreadsheets or other data sources to graphically present the key results will grab the reader’s attention.  

In part six the series, we will look at benchmarking and comparing the study results to an appropriate evidence-based guideline or benchmark.  

To see other installments in this series, click on the link below: 

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This program has been approved for continuing education unit(s) (CEUs) for use in fulfilling the continuing education requirements of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Granting of Approved CEUs from AHIMA does not constitute endorsement of the program content or its program provider.