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Real-life benchmarking bladder cancer care: a population-based study


Introduction — Radical cystectomy (RC) is a complex oncological surgical procedure and population studies of routine surgical care have suggested suboptimal results compared to high-volume centers of excellence. A previous Canadian bladder cancer quality-of-care consensus led to adoption of multiple key quality-of-care indicators, with associated benchmarks created using available evidence and expert opinion to inform and measure future performance. Herein, we report real-life benchmark performance for the management of muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) relative to expert opinion guidance.

Methods — This is a population-based, retrospective, cohort study that used the Ontario Cancer Registry (OCR) to identify all incident patients who underwent RC from 2009–2013. Electronic records of treatment from 1573 patients were linked to OCR; pathology records were obtained for all cases and reviewed by a team of trained data abstractors. The primary objective was to describe benchmarks for identified indicators, first as median values obtained across hospitals or providers, as well as a “pared-mean” approach to identify a benchmark population of “top performance,” as defined as the best outcome accomplished for at least 10% of the population.

Results — Overall, performance in Ontario across all indicators fell short of expert opinion-determined benchmarks. Annual surgical volume by each surgeon performing a RC (benchmark >6, percent of institutions meeting benchmark=20%), percent of patients with MIBC referred preoperatively to medical oncology (MO; benchmark>90%, percent of institutions meeting benchmark=2%) and radiation oncology (RO; benchmark>50%, percent of institutions meeting benchmark=0%), time to cystectomy within six weeks of transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT) in patients without neoadjuvant chemotherapy (benchmark <6 weeks, percent of institutions meeting benchmark=0%), percent of patients with adequate lymph node dissection (defined as >14 nodes, benchmark>85%, percent of institutions meeting benchmark=0%), percent of patients with positive margins post-RC (benchmark <10%, percent of institutions meeting benchmark=46%), and 90-day mortality (benchmark<5%, percent of institutions meeting benchmark=37%) fell considerably short. Simply evaluating benchmarks across the province as median performance significantly underestimated benchmarks that were possible by top-performing hospitals.

Conclusions — Performance through most bladder cancer quality-of-care indicators fall short of benchmarks proposed by expert opinion. Different methodologies, such as a pared-mean approach of top performers, may provide more realistic benchmarking.



Vanin Moreno N, Whitehead M, Siemens R. Can Urol Assoc J. 2023; May 30 [Epub ahead of print].

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