Improving quality of cancer care through surgical audit

W van Gijn, C J H van de Velde
European Journal of Surgical Oncology 2010, 36 Suppl 1: S23-6
Quality of healthcare is a hot topic and this is especially true for cancer care. New surgical techniques and effective neoadjuvant treatment regimens have significantly improved colorectal cancer outcome. Nevertheless, there seem to be substantial differences in quality of care between European countries, hospitals and doctors. To reduce hospital variation, most initiatives aim on selective referral, encouraging patients to seek care in high-volume hospitals, where cancer care is concentrated to site-specialist multidisciplinary teams. As an alternative to volume-based referral, hospitals and surgeons can also improve their results by learning from their own outcome statistics and those from colleagues treating a similar patient group. European national audit registries in surgical oncology have led to improvements with a greater impact on survival than any of the adjuvant therapies currently under study. Moreover, they offer the possibility to perform research on patient groups that are usually excluded from clinical trials. Nevertheless, between European countries remain differences in outcome and treatment schedules that cannot be easily explained. The European CanCer Organisation (ECCO) has recognised these importances and created the 'European Registration of Cancer Care' (EURECCA) framework to develop a European colorectal audit structure. EURECCA will advance future treatment improvements and spread these to all European cancer patients. It provides opportunities to treat elderly and comorbid patients evidence based while it offers an unique insight in social-economical healthcare matters such as the consequences of commercialisation, treatment availability and screening initiatives. As such, ECCO has established the basis for a strong, multidisciplinary audit structure with the commitment to improve cancer care for every European cancer patient.


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