Cooperative groups and community hospitals. Measurement of impact in the community hospitals
Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes
The Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, composed of major cancer treatment centers, has an outreach program which involves community hospitals in ongoing cancer clinical trials. A prevalence survey was carried out in February 1981 among 104 community hospitals and 21 member institutions to determine the characteristics of patients being treated, their staffing, and reasons why patients were not on protocol studies. The survey sampled 25 (50) consecutive patients from community hospitals (member institutions). The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of a community cancer control program. The results of the study demonstrated that 16% of patients surveyed in the affiliated community hospitals were being treated on a research protocol. In addition, a further 35% had their treatment plan influenced by a protocol. Consequently protocols have impacted directly or indirectly on 51% of the patients. The corresponding figures in member institutions were 23% and 38% for a total of 61%. In studying protocol availability, it was found that 66% of all patients were ineligible for any protocol. Of patients eligible for a protocol but not registered on one, 52% were not registered because of physician preference for a specific treatment. The affiliates surveyed were shown to be on average half as large as member institutions in terms of number of beds and staff size. Also, staff/patient ratios are generally smaller in the community hospitals. The median age of patients was considerably lower than SEER incidence data. Also, elderly patients were slightly more prevalent in community hospitals than in member institutions. A clear relationship between disease stage and age in breast cancer patients was noted with the representation of early-stage disease much higher in young women.