KCE Reports 305 (2019)
For several years, KCE has undertaken background work to improve the quality of care to patients with cancer, together with the Cancer Registry Foundation and College of Oncology. Over time, this project should lead to a true system of quality monitoring, including clinical recommendations, quality indicators and a hospital benchmarking and feedback dynamic.
This year, efforts have concentrated on head and neck cancers. A number of quality indicators and objectives to be achieved was defined with the aid of field experts; the care provided in Belgian hospitals was then evaluated on this basis. Once again, we had to note that the chances of survival are significantly higher in hospitals which treat more than 20 patients per year affected by these cancers, because they require very specific management. Only 23 hospitals attain this level in Belgium (that is, less than one-quarter of hospitals in the country). We thus reiterate our recommendation in favour of centralising the management of these patients in reference hospitals with the necessary expertise. Such a decision has just been taken for surgery of oesophagus and pancreas cancers, following the recommendations of one of our previous reports.
At the same time as the publication of this study, each hospital evaluated received a feedback report from the Cancer Registry, containing its own results for the various indicators and its situation as compared to other hospitals (benchmarking) in order to adopt measures to improve the quality of care.