The best way to advance surgical care is to have a clear picture of what’s currently happening in hospitals and other facilities where surgical procedures occur. Numerous quality improvement programs purport to measure quality but lack the complete, accurate data needed to truly measure the quality of patient care.
The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) is the first nationally validated, risk-adjusted, outcomes-based program to measure and improve the quality of surgical care across surgical specialties in the private sector. Named “Best in the Nation” by the Institute of Medicine, ACS NSQIP provides a prospective, peer-controlled, validated database of pre-operative to 30-day post-operative surgical outcomes based on clinical data, rather than claims data from medical billing. Since the program was launched in the private sector in 2001, ACS NSQIP participating hospitals have achieved significant improvements in quality and cost savings by using the program’s tools, reports and analysis.
ACS NSQIP Impact: Improving Quality for Patients and Hospitals
Hospitals that focus on quality improvement can prevent complications and disparities in care. A study in the September 2009 issue of the Annals of Surgery evaluated 118 hospitals that began participating in ACS NSQIP between 2005 and 2007. The study showed that every year, these hospitals:
- Prevent 250-500 complications
- Save 12-36 lives
- Reduce costs by millions of dollars
ACS NSQIP Could Prevent Millions of Complications, Save Billions
If these results were translated across all hospitals in the country that perform surgery, hospitals could prevent millions of complications a year, save billions of dollars and demonstrate that higher quality care can cost less. Using outcomes-based, risk-adjusted measures, both underperforming and high-performing hospitals of all sizes, in both urban and rural settings, can improve care and reduce the disparities of care between hospitals.