Quality Assurance and Improvement in Head and Neck Cancer Surgery: From Clinical Trials to National Healthcare Initiatives

  • Christian SimonEmail author
  • Carmela Caballero
Head and Neck Cancer (L Licitra, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Head and Neck Cancer

Opinion statement

It is without question in the best interest of our patients, if we can identify ways to improve the quality of care we deliver to them. Great progress has been made within the last 25 years in terms of development and implementation of quality-assurance (QA) platforms and quality improvement programs for surgery in general, and within this context for head and neck surgery. As of now, we have successfully identified process indicators that impact outcome of our patients and the quality of care we deliver as surgeons. We have developed risk calculators to determine the risk for complications of individual surgical patients. We have created perioperative guidelines for complex head and neck procedures. We have in Europe and North America created audit registries that can gather and analyze data from institutions across the world to better understand which processes need change to obtain good outcomes and improve quality of care. QA platforms can be tested within the clearly defined environment of prospective clinical trials. If positive, such programs could be rolled out within national healthcare systems, if feasible. Testing quality programs in clinical trials could be a versatile tool to help head neck cancer patients benefit directly from such initiatives on a global level.


Head and neck cancer HNSCC Quality assurance EORTC Quality improvement QA Clinical trials 



We thank the members of the EORTC HQ and the members of the EORTC QAC for their help and input.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Christian Simon and Carmela Caballero declare they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors..

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Service d’Oto-rhino-laryngologie – Chirurgie cervico-facialeCentre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV), Université de Lausanne (UNIL)LausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.European Organization for Research and Treatment of CancerBrusselsBelgium

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