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American College of Surgeons Launches New Cancer Surgery Standards Program to Improve Quality of Care


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The American College of Surgeons Cancer Programs recently launched the Cancer Surgery Standards Program (CSSP), a new initiative that aims to improve the quality of surgical care provided to patients with cancer by implementing standards for cancer surgery and standardizing the way operative data are documented and communicated.

Matthew H.G. Katz, MD, FACS

Matthew H.G. Katz, MD, FACS

An increasing body of evidence demonstrates that adherence to specific operative techniques during cancer surgery directly improves key patient outcomes, including survival and quality of life.1,2 “For example, we have evidence showing that patients whose breast and gastric operations were performed to established technical standards live longer than patients whose operations did not,” said Matthew H.G. Katz, MD, FACS, of the Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Chair, CSSP. The CSSP will help to establish these evidence-based standards from clinical trials and research; educate surgeons, trainees, and staff to help them meet the standards; and build and disseminate tools, including synoptic operative report templates and associated electronic infrastructure, to support documentation and implementation and improve adherence.

Assembling Vital Details for a Broader Perspective

The CSSP brings together experts in cancer surgery, cancer registry management, digital tools/frameworks, and surgical coding to develop synoptic operative reporting templates that standardize clinical documentation by using a checklist format along with electronic documentation tools that can be used at the point of care. These templates and tools can be readily integrated into electronic health records, enabling surgeons to document the critical components of cancer operations efficiently and comprehensively.

The CSSP synoptic operative reporting tools will allow for easy monitoring of adherence to the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer standards and provide linkage to critical cancer and surgical codes. Additionally, these synoptic operative reporting tools and templates will ensure capture of the vital information that otherwise may be missing from narrative operative reports.3 In the future, the CSSP tools will help automate data acquisition into the National Cancer Database, a joint program of the American College of Surgeons and the American Cancer Society, which is the largest cancer registry of its kind. 

REFERENCES

1. Zhao B, Tsai C, Hunt KK, et al: Adherence to surgical and oncologic standards improves survival in breast cancer patients. J Surg Oncol 120:148-159, 2019.

2. Zhao B, Blair SL, Katz MHG, et al: Adherence with operative standards in the treatment of gastric cancer in the United States. Gastric Cancer 23:550-560, 2020.

3. Bidwell SS, Merrell SB, Poles G, et al: Implementation of a synoptic operative report for rectal cancer: A mixed-methods study. Dis Colon Rectum 63:190-199, 2020.


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