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Operating principles for running a clinical quality registry: are they feasible?


  • M. Ogilvy BA, GradDipInfSt; J. Kollias, FRACS, MD.


Ms Michelle Ogilvy, National Breast Cancer Audit, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, 199 Ward Street, North Adelaide, SA 5006, Australia. Email:



The National Breast Cancer Audit (NBCA) was one of six national registries selected by open tender to test and validate the draft Operating Principles and Technical Standards for Australian Clinical Quality Registries. The standardization proposed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care through this initiative sought to improve the overall efficiency and function of registries, as well as compatibility between registries. The NBCA's role involved testing, and implementing where possible, the proposed principles and standards in the NBCA environment so as to validate them in an operating registry.


The forty-two draft operating principles were evaluated by the NBCA based on four factors: relevance to the audit, feasibility of implementation by the audit, extent of difficulty in implementation and extent of improvement. An evaluation of the technical standards was also conducted.


At the completion of the project, the audit met 27 of the 42 draft principles with only three principles marked as entirely unfeasible or not relevant to the NBCA. The remaining principles were either in the process of being implemented, implemented in part or awaiting discussion through governance channels.


A revised principles and standards document has been produced. This will have a significant impact on quality of care in Australia as more audits and registries use it as a guide. Changes implemented at the NBCA have enhanced the audit as a tool for improving the quality of care received by early breast cancer patients.