, Volume 18, Issue 11, pp 3053-3060
Date: 24 Aug 2011

Can We Measure the Quality of Breast Surgical Care?

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Abstract

Many studies have demonstrated gaps in healthcare quality for all medical and surgical specialties including breast surgical care. How to optimally measure and improve quality has generated debate at the local, state, and national level. Attempts to judge medical performance by private companies using non-risk-adjusted administrative databases may not be accurate and may unfairly penalize surgical care. An overview of concepts to measure and improve quality of breast cancer care is presented with specific examples relevant to breast surgeons. Breast surgeons and their professional organizations need to take ownership of quality measure programs because others will surely do so if we do not. Participation in one or more of these programs is beneficial because peer performance comparison allows identification of potential areas for individual or institutional improvement and demonstrates the commitment of breast surgeons to quality improvement. This commitment may gain even greater importance if trends continue toward performance-based physician payment, patient steerage, licensure, and board certification.