Since a couple of years, quality assurance (QA) stands at the core of the attention in the healthcare sector. Especially after the publication in 2000 of the Institute of Medicine’s report ‘To err is human’ the interest in QA has taken a quantum leap and many quality initiatives have been developed. This report revealed that every year in the United States approximately 98,000 patients died because of medical errors. Following this report, within the healthcare sector the awareness arose that the quality of the service had to improve, with special attention to safety and patient experiences. Since then the healthcare sector has learned some important lessons in QA from other industries such as the airline industry and energy sector, which are generally classified as ultra-safe organizations. Gastrointestinal endoscopy has been one of the medicine specialties which enrolled important quality initiatives. Especially since the introduction of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening programs, many efforts have been undertaken to better understand the concept of high quality endoscopy. CRC screening has been proven to decrease the incidence of CRC, and CRC related mortality. Therefore many institutions and societies recommend to screen asymptomatic individuals by fecal occult blood tests, flexible sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy. As these screening programs involve healthy individuals, the cost-effectiveness of such programmatic screening approaches is highly dependent on the quality of the procedure, but also on pre- and post-procedure quality aspects to improve screenee experiences and thereby the uptake of and adherence to screening modalities. In the Netherlands, CRC screening is about to start in 2013 by means of biennial fecal immunochemical testing. To attain the highest effect a comprehensive QA program should be enrolled with major focus on endoscopy as secondary screening method, as is recommended now by the European Union. The other diagnostic and therapeutic services provided by the endoscopy units will benefit simultaneously from such an initiative.

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Financial support for printing this thesis was kindly given by the department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Norgine BV; ABBOTT Immunology; PENTAX Nederland B.V.; Olympus Nederland B.V.; Tramedico B.V.; Dr. Falk Pharma Benelux B.V; ; Pfizer BV; the Dutch Society of Gastroenterology; the J.E. Jurriaanse Stichting
E.J. Kuipers (Ernst)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

de Jonge, V., & SInt Nicolaas, J. (2012, April 20). Understanding Outstanding: quality assurance in colonoscopy. Retrieved from