The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer Rectal Cancer Project: Protocol for a Pan-Canadian, Multidisciplinary Quality Improvement Initiative to Optimize the Quality of Rectal Cancer Care

JMIR Res Protoc. 2020 Jan 29;9(1):e15535. doi: 10.2196/15535.


Background: Over the last 2 decades, the use of multimodal strategies, including total mesorectal excision (TME) surgery, preoperative chemotherapy, multidisciplinary case conference, pelvic magnetic resonance imaging, and pathologic assessment using Quirke method, has led to significant improvements in oncologic outcomes for patients with rectal cancer. Although the literature supports claims on the effectiveness of these multimodal strategies, the uptake of these multimodal strategies varies considerably among centers, suggesting that the best evidence is not always implemented into clinical practice.

Objective: This study aims to perform a quality improvement initiative to (1) identify existing gaps in care for these multimodal strategies and (2) implement knowledge translation (KT) interventions to close these gaps to optimize quality of care for patients with rectal cancer across high-volume centers in Canada.

Methods: Process indicators for the selected multimodal strategies to optimize rectal cancer care will be selected and prospectively collected for all patients with stages 1 to 3 rectal cancer undergoing TME surgery. KT interventions, including audit and feedback, opinion leaders, and community of practice, will be implemented to increase the uptake of these clinical strategies.

Results: The uptake of the process indicators over time and the effect of the uptake of the process indicators on short- and long-term oncologic outcomes will be evaluated for each multimodal strategy.

Conclusions: This quality improvement initiative will identify existing gaps in care for the selected multimodal strategies and implement KT interventions to close these gaps. The results of this study will inform further efforts to optimize rectal cancer care.

International registered report identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/15535.

Keywords: knowledge translation; quality improvement; rectal cancer.