Our Quality Assessment and Improvement Initiative

By Oliver Zivanovic, MD,

Friday, May 15, 2015

In 2015, approximately 21,300 women in the US will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. (1)It is the second most common gynecologic malignancy but the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancer among American women.

Standard therapy includes a combination of surgery and platinum-based chemotherapy. As we develop more innovative programs and extend the boundaries of care with increasingly complex surgeries, it has become essential to conduct thorough and ongoing assessments of any and all new approaches. Collecting and measuring key elements of patient outcomes and the patient experience will ensure that we are providing quality perioperative support and improving our care pathways.

Preventing and Managing Potential Complications

For ovarian cancer patients, surgery is associated with multiple symptoms and potentially dangerous complications in the early postoperative period. The adequate prevention and management of symptoms and adverse surgical events depend on two critical elements: timely and efficient provider-patient communication and intervention with standardized algorithms.

Reducing the burden of treatment-related symptoms is an important cancer care goal at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Through our Quality Assessment and Improvement Initiative, our ovarian cancer surgery team will track every patient who is diagnosed with ovarian cancer and implement standardized treatment algorithms and interventions.

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Implementation and Goals

The following procedures have been implemented in accordance with our Quality Assessment and Improvement Initiative:

  • capturing of relevant clinical data and outcomes of all patients presenting with ovarian cancer
  • standardizing perioperative patient care pathways, including preoperative risk stratification, surgical decision making, fluid management guidelines, and evaluating discharge criteria
  • tracking of adverse surgical events in all patients undergoing surgery for ovarian carcinoma
  • implementation of standardized surgical site infection (SSI) reduction interventions
  • standardized enhanced recovery pathways to decrease the length of hospital stays for patients undergoing surgery
  • implementation of standardized provider-patient communication and follow-up after discharge  for surgical patients

Ultimately, the long-term goals of our Quality Assessment and Improvement Initiative are to reduce postoperative symptom burden, enhance timely provider-patient communication about symptoms, and track and reduce the rates of adverse surgical events, readmission, and hospitalization. The data we collect can subsequently be used to develop patient education tools and to responsibly improve care processes through the integration of new technologies into routine clinical practice. 

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  1. Siegel RL, Miller KD, Jemal A. Cancer statistics, 2015. CA Cancer J Clin 2015;65:5-29.