The BreastSurgANZ Quality Audit (the Audit) aims to improve the quality of care by surgeons for patients with breast cancer in Australia and New Zealand.
The Breast Quality Audit is a keystone of the Society and has been collecting data continuously for over 20 years. In late 2010, BreastSurgANZ took over direction of the audit from the Breast Surgery Section of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) and has engaged RACS to manage the BQA on the Society’s behalf.
The Audit currently contains over 260,000 episodes of early and locally advanced breast cancer, with over 350 surgeons contributing data each year.
Participation in the audit is a requirement for Full and Associate membership of BreastSurgANZ and provides the crucial service of quality assuring members, to reassure the Australian and New Zealand public that a BreastSurgANZ surgeon is adhering to best practice guidelines in the treatment of early breast cancer. Failure to adhere to BQA requirements can result in cancellation of Membership from the Society.
One of the ways in which surgeons demonstrate their commitment to improving and maintaining the highest standards of care for patients with breast disease is through participation in the Audit.
Participation in the Audit is a recognised audit activity in the RACS Continuing Professional Development Program and the Audit is referenced by Cancer Australia and Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) and both recommend contribution to the Audit as a resource for patients choosing a surgeon.
Breast surgeons use the BQA to self-assess their clinical performance again a set of evidence-based key performance indicators (KPIs) and High Quality Performance Indicators (HQPIs). The KPIs and HQPIs focus on areas of care which will have the most impact on improving outcomes of patients with breast cancer.
The Audit allows the Society to keep up to date with changes in treatment based on available evidence and ensure wide dissemination of that information.
Research into breast cancer treatment and outcomes in order to improve patient careusing de-identified audit data is an important part of the Audit’s value. The Audit, however, is a declared Quality Assurance Activity and as such is required to work within certain legal constraints.
The Audit must protect the confidentiality of the information it receives, to respect the privacy and sensitivity of those to whom it relates. The database maintains high-level data security procedures and does not release data with identifiable patient or surgeon information.
Research generated from the audit has resulted in a number of publications in internationally recognised journals.
Researchers can apply for access to de-identified tabulations and analysis through the BQA data release process.