The Impact of Hospital Quality on Thyroid Cancer Survival

Uchechukwu C. Megwalu, Yifei Ma, Tina Hernandez-Boussard, Vasu Divi, Scarlett Lin Gomez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: To develop a composite measure of thyroid cancer–specific hospital quality and to evaluate the association between hospital quality and survival in patients with well-differentiated thyroid cancer. Study Design: Retrospective cohort study. Setting: Population-based cancer database. Subjects and Methods: Data were extracted from the California Cancer Registry data set linked with discharge records and hospital characteristics from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. The study cohort comprised adult patients with well-differentiated thyroid cancer diagnosed between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2015. Principal component analysis, incorporating hospital volume, adherence to national guidelines, and accreditation/certification status, was used to generate a composite thyroid cancer–specific hospital quality score. Results: Treatment in hospitals ranked in the highest quartile of quality was associated with improved overall survival (OS) (hazard ratio [HR], 0.81; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.67-0.98) and disease-specific survival (DSS) (HR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.54-0.98). Treatment in hospitals meeting the combined metric of 10 or more thyroid cancer cases/year and 80% of patients with high-risk tumors treated with total/near-total thyroidectomy was associated with improved OS (HR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.70-0.90) and DSS (HR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.64-0.94). Conclusion: Treatment in high-quality hospitals is associated with improved survival outcomes in patients with thyroid cancer. These findings are important because they help identify hospitals that are better suited to treat patients with thyroid cancer and provide actionable targets for quality improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-276
Number of pages8
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • health care
  • high-volume hospitals
  • quality indicators
  • quality of care
  • survival
  • thyroid cancer


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