New York Times Examines Practice of ‘Keeping Score’ of Breast Cancer Cases
In the second part of a two-part series on mammography, the New York Times today reports on Dr. Kim Adcock, head of radiology at Kaiser Permanente Colorado in Denver. In 1995, Adcock began "keeping score" of the number of cancer cases that his doctors failed to diagnose to help improve breast cancer detection rates. Over the past seven years, Adcock has fired several doctors who missed "more than their share of tumors" and reassigned others who did not read "enough films to stay sharp." As a result, his team of physicians today misses one-third fewer cancers than they did before Adcock began keeping count and has reached "nearly as high a level of accuracy as mammography can offer," the Times reports. Dr. Robert Smith, head of screening for the American Cancer Society, said, "Every mammography program in the country should be doing something like this." Although a "small but growing number" of mammography programs have begun to adopt Adcock's practices, the Times reports that the Kaiser team "has perhaps gone as far as anyone in creating a statistical system for holding doctors accountable for their work." The Times reports that Adcock's practices provide a "fair and rigorous way" to hold radiologists accountable at a time when the "government has fallen far short of its pledge to ensure high-quality mammography" (Moss, New York Times, 6/28). The full article is available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.