Document Type



General Surgery (East Africa)


Background: Measurement and reporting of quality indicators at the hospital level has been shown to improve outcomes and support patient choice. Although there are many studies validating individual quality indicators, there has been no systematic approach to understanding what quality indicators exist for surgical oncology and no standardization for their use. The aim of this study was to review quality indicators used to assess variation in quality in surgical oncology care across hospitals or regions. It also sought to describe the aims of these studies and what, if any, feedback was offered to the analysed groups.

Methods: A literature search was performed to identify studies published between 1 January 2000 and 23 October 2023 that applied surgical quality indicators to detect variation in cancer care at the hospital or regional level.

Results: A total of 89 studies assessed 91 unique quality indicators that fell into the following Donabedian domains: process indicators (58; 64%); outcome indicators (26; 29%); structure indicators (6; 7%); and structure and outcome indicators (1; 1%). Purposes of evaluating variation included: identifying outliers (43; 48%); comparing centres with a benchmark (14; 16%); and supplying evidence of practice variation (29; 33%). Only 23 studies (26%) reported providing the results of their analyses back to those supplying data.

Conclusion: Comparisons of quality in surgical oncology within and among hospitals and regions have been undertaken in highincome countries. Quality indicators tended to be process measures and reporting focused on identifying outlying hospitals. Few studies offered feedback to data suppliers.

Publication (Name of Journal)

BJS Open


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.