Background: It remains unknown how much institutional medical structure and process of implementation of clinical practice guidelines for esophageal cancers can improve quality of surgical outcome in Japan. Methods: A web-based questionnaire survey was performed for departments registered in the National Clinical Database in Japan from October 2014 to January 2015. Quality indicators (QIs) including structure and process indicators (clinical practice guideline adherence) were evaluated on the risk-adjusted odds ratio for operative mortality (AOR) of the patients using registered cases in the database who underwent esophagectomy and reconstruction in 2013 and 2014. Results: Among 916 departments which registered at least one esophagectomy case during the study period, 454 departments (49.6%) responded to the questionnaire. Analyses of 6661 cases revealed that two structure QIs (certification of training hospitals by Japan Esophageal Society and presence of board-certified esophageal surgeons) were associated with significantly lower AOR (p < 0.001 and p = 0.005, respectively). One highly recommended process QI regarding preoperative chemotherapy had strong tendency to associate with lower AOR (p = 0.053). In two process QIs, the answer “performed at the doctor’s discretion” showed a significant negative impact on prognosis, suggesting importance of institutional uniformity. Conclusions: The medical institutional structure of board-certified training sites for esophageal surgeons and of participation of board-certified esophageal surgeons improves surgical outcome in Japan. Establishment of appropriate QIs and their uniform implementation would be crucial for future quality improvement of medical care in esophagectomy.
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