JOURNAL ARTICLE

The Dutch surgical colorectal audit

N J Van Leersum, H S Snijders, D Henneman, N E Kolfschoten, G A Gooiker, M G ten Berge, E H Eddes, M W J M Wouters, R A E M Tollenaar, W A Bemelman, R M van Dam, M A Elferink, Th M Karsten, J H J M van Krieken, V E P P Lemmens, H J T Rutten, E R Manusama, C J H van de Velde, W J H J Meijerink, Th Wiggers, E van der Harst, J W T Dekker, D Boerma
European Journal of Surgical Oncology 2013, 39 (10): 1063-70
23871573

INTRODUCTION: In 2009, the nationwide Dutch Surgical Colorectal Audit (DSCA) was initiated by the Association of Surgeons of the Netherlands (ASN) to monitor, evaluate and improve colorectal cancer care. The DSCA is currently widely used as a blueprint for the initiation of other audits, coordinated by the Dutch Institute for Clinical Auditing (DICA). This article illustrates key elements of the DSCA and results of three years of auditing.

METHODS: Key elements include: a leading role of the professional association with integration of the audit in the national quality assurance policy; web-based registration by medical specialists; weekly updated online feedback to participants; annual external data verification with other data sources; improvement projects.

RESULTS: In two years, all Dutch hospitals participated in the audit. Case-ascertainment was 92% in 2010 and 95% in 2011. External data verification by comparison with the Netherlands Cancer Registry (NCR) showed high concordance of data items. Within three years, guideline compliance for diagnostics, preoperative multidisciplinary meetings and standardised reporting increased; complication-, re-intervention and postoperative mortality rates decreased significantly.

DISCUSSION: The success of the DSCA is the result of effective surgical collaboration. The leading role of the ASN in conducting the audit resulted in full participation of all colorectal surgeons in the Netherlands. By integrating the audit into the ASNs' quality assurance policy, it could be used to set national quality standards. Future challenges include reduction of administrative burden; expansion to a multidisciplinary registration; and addition of financial information and patient reported outcomes to the audit data.

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