Publication Abstract

Authors: Flanagan MR, Varghese TK Jr, Backhus LM, Wood DE, Mulligan MS, Cheng AM, Flum DR, Farjah F

Title: Gaps in Guideline-Concordant Use of Diagnostic Tests Among Lung Cancer Patients.

Journal: Ann Thorac Surg 100(6):2006-12

Date: 2015 Dec

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Practice guidelines recommend routine use of pulmonary function tests (PFTs), computed tomography (CT), and positron emission tomography (PET) for the workup of resectable lung cancer patients. Little is known about the frequency of guideline concordance in routine practice. METHODS: A cohort study (2007 to 2013) of 15,951 lung cancer patients undergoing lobectomy or pneumonectomy was conducted with MarketScan, a claims database of individuals with employer-provided health insurance. Guideline concordance was defined by claims for PFT within 180 days of resection and for CT and PET within 90 days of resection. Generalized linear models were used to evaluate temporal trends, patient characteristics, and costs associated with guideline-concordant care. RESULTS: Overall, 61% of patients received guideline-concordant care, increasing from 57% in 2007 to 66% in 2013 (p < 0.001). Compared with patients who received guideline-discordant care, patients with guideline-concordant care more frequently underwent repeat testing (PFT: 21% versus 12%, p < 0.001; CT: 46% versus 22%, p < 0.001; PET: 2.3% versus 1.1%, p < 0.001). Health plan-adjusted mean total test-related costs were higher among guideline-concordant patients who underwent repeat testing than patients who did not ($4,304 versus $3,454, p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Forty percent of lung cancer patients treated with surgical procedures did not receive recommended noninvasive cancer staging and physiologic assessment before resection. Guideline concordance was associated with repeat testing, and repeat testing was associated with higher costs. These findings support the need for quality improvement interventions that can increase guideline concordance while curbing potential excess use of diagnostic tests.