American Society of Breast Surgeons

Annals of Surgical Oncology

, 18:3053

First online:

Can We Measure the Quality of Breast Surgical Care?

  • Cary S. KaufmanAffiliated withBellingham Regional Breast CenterDepartment of Surgery, University of WashingtonThe National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers
  • , Jeffrey LandercasperAffiliated withNorma J. Vinger Center for Breast Care, Gundersen Lutheran Health SystemDepartment of Surgery, Gundersen Lutheran Health SystemUniversity of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public HealthPatient Safety and Quality Committee of the American Society of Breast Surgeons Email author 

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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.