Quality assurance in surgical oncology. Colorectal cancer as an example

Ulf Gunnarsson
European Journal of Surgical Oncology 2003, 29 (1): 89-94
Quality assurance in surgical oncology is a field of growing importance. National, regional and local systems have been built up in many countries. Often the quality assurance projects are linked to different registers. The advantage of such a link is the possibility of obtaining population-based data from unselected health care institutions. Few discussions of results from such projects have been published. Quality assurance of colorectal cancer surgery implies the development and use of systems for improvement all the way from detection of the cancer to the outcome as survival and patient satisfaction. To achieve this we must know what methods are being used and the outcome of our treatments. Designing processes for improvement necessitates careful planning, including decisions about end-points. Some crucial issues are discussed step-by-step in the present paper. In addition to auditing and providing collegial feedback, quality assurance is a tool for closing the gap between clinical practice and evidence based medicine and for creating new evidences as well as monitoring the introduction of new techniques and their effects.

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