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Presidential Address
December 2007

Improving the Quality of Head and Neck Cancer Care

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Head and Neck Surgery, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2007;133(12):1188-1192. doi:10.1001/archotol.133.12.1188
Abstract

The 2001 report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) titled Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century highlighted the gap that exists between what we know to be effective, beneficial care and the care that is often delivered to an individual patient.1 In the report, the IOM stated, “Between the health care we have and the care we could have lies not just a gap, but a chasm.”1(p1) The report, signifying a national initiative to improve the quality of care in the United States, articulated the following 6 aims for a new health care system: (1) to increase the safety of health care by avoiding injuries to patients through care intended to help them; (2) to provide effective services based on scientific knowledge and to avoid services of no proven benefit; (3) to deliver individualized treatment respectful of and responsive to the patient's preferences, needs, and values; (4) to deliver timely care by reducing wait times and harmful delays; (5) to increase efficiency by not wasting equipment, supplies, ideas, and energy; and (6) to deliver care that is equitable and does not vary by personal characteristics, patient sex, ethnicity, geography, and social economic status. The IOM also recognized a need to optimize quality cancer care in the United States.

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