: Diagnosis and surgical treatment decision making for breast cancers has become increasingly complex. Recently, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC) published pan-Canadian evidence-based surgical standards for the care of breast cancer patients. This study was undertaken to assess the degree to which these standards were currently met in practice and to further understand the determinants of their implementation nationally. Methods
: This study was undertaken in two parts—(1) National survey of breast cancer surgeons to assess the perceived extent of implementation of these standards in their institution and province; (2) Formation of a focus group with a representative sample of breast surgeons across Canada to further understand the barriers and facilitators towards future breast standards implementation. Results
: 35 surgeons participated in the survey: 66% were from community hospitals. There were four categories of standards that were the most significantly lacking across the country—(a) processes related to quality assurance, (b) turnaround time for pathology results (c) psychosocial and health-related support for the breast cancer patient and (d) breast reconstruction for patients undergoing mastectomy. The focus group included participants from all ten Canadian provinces. For each standard, the 134 determinants fell into three main categories—individual physician (n = 27, 20%); organizational (n = 46, 34%), and system (n = 61, 46%). While specific determinants were present for each category, surgical standards were more likely to be implemented in practice if (1) they aligned with organizational priorities standards; (2) the individual physicians or physician groups were accountable to the organization and/or cancer jurisdiction regarding compliance with the standard; and (3) if infrastructure or resources existed within the organization or system for the reliable collection of relevant, meaningful, practice changing data combined with the capability of benchmarking, peer–peer comparisons and timely feedback to the surgeons. Conclusion
: The results of this study demonstrated variation, barriers and opportunities for the national implementation of CPAC’s breast cancer surgery standards and identified determinants of high-quality breast surgical care delivery.
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