Buja A, De Luca G, Zorzi M, Carpin E, Pinato C, Vecchiato A, Del Fiore P, Bortolami A, Tognazzo S, Falasco F, Saia M, Baldo V, Rugge M, Rossi CR, Mocellin S.

Eur J Dermatol. 2021 Nov 17. doi: 10.1684/ejd.2021.4149. Online ahead of print.


Promoting standardization and quality assurance (QA) may guarantee better outcomes for patients and ensure a better allocation of healthcare system resources. The present study tested the association between process quality indicators of the clinical pathway for melanoma and both patient short-term mortality and budget utilization Specific indicators were selected to assess quality of processes in different phases of the pathway as well as the pathway as a whole. Cox regression models were run for each phase to test the association between adherence to the quality indicator and overall mortality. A Tobit regression analysis was used to identify any association between adherence to the quality indicators and total costs over the two years after melanoma was diagnosed. This retrospective cohort study concerned 1,222 incident cases of melanoma in the Veneto Region (north-east of Italy). Adherence to the clinical pathway as a whole was associated with a significant decrease in risk of death (HR= 0.40; 95% CI: 0,19 -0,77). Adherence to quality processes in the diagnostic phase (HR= 0.55 95% CI: 0.31- 0.95) and surgical phase (HR= 0.33 95% CI: 0.16- 0.61) significantly reduced the hazard risk. Tobit regression revealed a significant increase in overall costs for patients who adhered to the whole pathway in comparison with those who did not (β= 2,393.24; p= 0.013). This study suggests that adherence to the quality of management of clinical pathways modifies short-term survival as well as mean cost of care for patients with cutaneous melanoma. Physicians should be encouraged to improve their compliance with clinical care pathways for their melanoma patients, and steadily growing associated costs emphasize the need for policymakers to invest exclusively in treatments of proven efficacy.

Pubmed https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34789442/