Benchmark analyses in minimally invasive esophagectomy—impact on surgical quality improvement
Over the last decades, benchmarking has become an established management tool to improve quality in commercial economics. It is a rather new concept in the healthcare industry, and a confusingly wide range of approaches referring to “benchmarking” have been employed in the field of minimally invasive esophageal cancer surgery. It is our conviction that benchmarking will be an essential element of surgical research in the future. Therefore, defining and implementing standards is not only a desirable, but a vital step. Recently, we have introduced a standardized method of establishing valid benchmarks for surgical quality improvement including ideal outcome thresholds for total minimally invasive transthoracic esophagectomy (ttMIE). The present article aims at discussing the actual literature on benchmarking in minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIE) and at fueling the debate on how to further improve the current practice of surgical outcome research.