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Can hospital participation in clinical trials be used as a measure of quality of care?

Cancer patients who participate in clinical trials tend to do better than those who do not. This benefit may have more to do with the additional monitoring that trial patients receive, and an increased tendency of trial sites to adhere to clinical guidelines generally, rather than the particular treatment provided in the trial. Because of the association between clinical trials and improved patient outcomes, the participation of a hospital in clinical trials is sometimes seen as a proxy measure of the quality of care they provide to patients. But is this really a reasonable proxy measure in Australia? And if it were to be used, for example as part of a cancer Clinical Quality Registry, how do we best measure hospital "participation"? Clinical Quality Registries in cancer, such as the Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer Registry, give us an opportunity to look at evidence-based measures of quality of care and how well hospital performance on these measures correlate with various proposed measures of trial participation. The candidate would need to gather data from participating registry sites about what cancer clinical trials have opened at that site, what cancers they include, what type of trial it is, and how many patients have been recruited, and look for correlation between these measures and hospital performance on a range of agreed measures of clinical quality from the clinical quality registry, such as % of cases presented at a multidisciplinary meeting. This project would suit a student who is interested in health services research, quality of care and oncology and would allow the student to develop a number of capabilities: - literature review - research ethics and governance compliance - data collection - data analysis - understanding of clinical quality registries (benchmarking and feedback) and quality of care in cancer - understanding of the Australian health system
Essential criteria: 
Minimum entry requirements can be found here:
quality of care, clinical trials, health services research, clinical registries
School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine
Available options 
Short projects
Time commitment 
Physical location 
553 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne (adjacent to The Alfred)
John Zalcberg

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