KWF grant for Katja Aben

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Dr Katja Aben (Health Evidence) has received a KWF grant (558.700 euro) for a project entitled "Evaluation of bladder cancer care in the Netherlands; a solid foundation for evidence-based quality improvement", together with Prof. Bart Kiemeney (Health Evidence) and Prof. Fred Witjes (Urology).


Optimal survival and good quality of life of bladder cancer patients can only be achieved by high quality of care. So far, only limited information is available regarding quality of bladder cancer care in the Netherlands. Nationally and internationally, no widely accepted, validated, evidence based set of bladder cancer indicators to evaluate bladder cancer care is available.

In order to get a comprehensive overview of the current care given to bladder cancer patients (especially considering the number of (ex-)bladder cancer patients which will increase even further in the near future), detailed data concerning the clinical process of bladder cancer as well as the quality of life as experienced by the patients is necessary.

The overall aim of this study is to get insight in the current quality of bladder cancer care in the Netherlands by collecting detailed clinical data by registration staff of the Netherlands Cancer Registry and health-related quality of life (provided by patients themselves). Based on these data we will be able:

1)     To evaluate institution-specific information on applied diagnostics, therapy, and outcomes in bladder cancer patients to provide insight in the variation within and between institutions (i.e. hospitals or collaborative networks), pathology laboratories and radiotherapy institutions and to evaluate adherence to clinical guideline recommendations

2)     To identify characteristics (on patient-, tumor-, clinician- and institution level) that are associated with variation in bladder cancer care

3)     To define a condensed set of evidence-based relevant quality indicators embedded in the Netherlands Cancer Registry for continuous monitoring and evaluation of long-term effects

In this way we will create the first multi-disciplinary bladder cancer dataset providing clinical and patient-reported data on quality of bladder cancer care, collected by independent, well trained registration staff.

Through this study we will identify reasons for practice variation and obstacles for optimal quality of care. Feedback of this information will guide general and hospital-specific improvements resulting in improved treatment outcome and safety, ultimately resulting in more transparent, improved and more personalized bladder cancer care.The results from this project may set the agenda for specific research questions in the management of bladder cancer.

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