Quality Assurance and Improvement in Head and Neck Cancer Surgery: From Clinical Trials to National Healthcare Initiatives
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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.
KeywordsHead 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..
References and Recommended Reading
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