Integrating surgical care and medical services to improve outcomes

A strategic priority of the Pan-Canadian action plan for optimizing cancer surgical care

System (external) and internal integration of surgical cancer care and medical services are essential to a coordinated, highly organized system, affecting care and patient outcomes.

Calls to action to improve cancer surgery

The Canadian Network of Surgical Associations for Cancer Care (CANSACC) will work with its members and partners to optimize delivery of integrated care:

  • We call on the provincial/territorial ministries of health and cancer programs to embed surgical cancer care planning and delivery into provincial/territorial cancer program planning and delivery. This includes having a comprehensive cancer surgery plan that is integrated with before- and after-care, with details on accountability structure, communities of practice (for surgeons), analytical capacity, quality improvement and follow-up care. It also requires leadership from ministries, cancer programs and surgeons to create a framework for joint responsibility and accountability, including financial support.
  • We call on the provincial/territorial ministries of health to integrate services to respond to the unique needs of patients and improve transitions to care. Home care should be coordinated with surgeons and hospitals to provide 24-hour on-call services. This would help address the substantive issue of emergency and hospital re-admissions.
  • We call on the provincial/territorial ministries of health to lead and collaborate with hospitals and the Canadian Institute for Health Information to facilitate shared informatics and systems between clinical service providers, and to collaborate with primary care to develop sufficient capacity for integrated systems. We recognize that primary care physicians play a key role in managing comorbid conditions and treating psycho-social symptoms, which are highly common among patients undergoing cancer treatment and survivors.
  • We call on ourselves to work with our member associations and pan-Canadian partners, as well as health-care systems and leaders, to support pan-Canadian collaborative networks that will enable surgeons and surgical centres to learn from each other based on data, helping to standardize and improve care.