Cancer Service Networks need accurate and timely information on the results of patient care and treatment so that they can ensure they are meeting the needs of people affected by cancer, and identify where the services need improvement.
Designing a way of collecting this information about cancer care is a major challenge. People affected by cancer are treated in both the public and private health care sectors, in urban, regional, rural and remote Australia and by a wide variety of health care providers. The typical care pathway for someone diagnosed with cancer is not organised or funded by one central body; therefore, efforts to improve the delivery and/or coordination of services need to cross organisational barriers.
Establishing a quality assurance framework that aims to address this challenge over time is a key element of the CanNET program. A quality assurance framework may include elements such as evidence-based standards and audit/monitoring arrangements to see if these standards are being met. The framework may also provide for the assessment of performance of individuals, multidisciplinary teams, facilities and the overall network.
Quality improvement (including evaluation, audit and credentialing) is a key element of cancer service network development. The following resources can be used to guide this work.