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Prioritising unwarranted variations in oesophagogastric cancer care and outcomes

The Victorian Integrated Cancer Services (VICS) Optimal Care Summits program recently completed a 9-month, strategic, statewide consultation on oesophagogastric cancer care in Victoria. The program aims to identify ‘unwarranted variations’ in cancer care and outcomes across Victoria, then achieve consensus amongst key stakeholders on which variations should be prioritised for action to provide optimal care.

An unwarranted variation is a difference not explained by differences in illness or preferences – that is, a chance to improve quality and equity of care.

The VICS Optimal Care Summits team, along with an advisory group of 19 multidisciplinary experts from across Victoria and the Analysis of Linked Information in Cancer (ALIC) data unit of the Victorian Department of Health, identified and discussed various indicators of cancer care in Victoria. The team used agreed criteria to determine any unwarranted variations, which were cross-checked by the ALIC team and analysed for clinical significance by the expert advisory group.


The team distributed 3 online Delphi surveys to the expert advisory group and 129 other key stakeholders in oesophagogastric cancer care across Victoria, to help us prioritise the identified variations. Consensus was guided by expert insights and mixed-method strategies. 20 unwarranted variations were identified and ranked – See the full list here.


The top 3 priority variations were then discussed at a live summit event on 1 March 2024, with nearly 100 expert stakeholders from different disciplines involved in oesophagogastric cancer care across Victoria. A statewide register of actions proposed by the VICS and our partners to address unwarranted variations will be published in June.


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