A joint, strategic partnership to improve surgical patient safety at the national level was announced yesterday by leaders of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At the core of the alliance is a desire to sustain and strengthen quality health care by combining expertise and organizational resources in tracking, reporting, and preventing surgical site infections (SSIs) and other adverse outcomes among surgical patients.
The ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®) and the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Division of Health Care Quality Promotion (DHQP), will form a working group to jointly develop and maintain measures of SSIs and infectious and noninfectious complications that affect surgical patients. The work group will build upon the portfolio of SSI measures developed jointly by ACS and CDC in 2010 for abdominal hysterectomy and colon operations. These measures are now in place as part of Medicare quality reporting programs.
“We welcome this opportunity to expand our progress in improving surgical patient outcomes on a national level by collaborating with the CDC,” said David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, Executive Director, American College of Surgeons. “Partnering with the CDC speaks to our shared commitment to surgical patient safety, preventing complications, and lowering costs.”
“This partnership will help close gaps that exist between direct patient care and public health,” said Daniel Pollock, MD, Surveillance Branch Chief of CDC’s DHQP. “Bringing clinicians, surveillance experts, and prevention leaders to the same table will help ensure we collect the right data in the right way so that patient safety can be maximized.”
A key objective of the new ACS-CDC collaboration is to harmonize and maintain the ACS NSQIP and CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) definitions, data requirements, and technical specifications in a manner that will allow data transfers from ACS NSQIP to NHSN, yet still maintain the individuality of each reporting system. Furthermore, ACS and CDC will explore ways to maximize the use of electronic health records (EHRs) for collecting and submitting standard SSI measure data and other data to aggregating systems, namely ACS NSQIP and CDC’s NHSN.
“It’s clear that our national health system is seeking better ways to measure quality care. Better data makes it possible because it creates more opportunities to improve the care hospitals and providers offer their patients,” said Clifford Y. Ko, MD, FACS, Director of the ACS Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care, which administers ACS NSQIP. “The CDC has tremendous experience with their quality programs, and through the ACS, hospitals participating in ACS NSQIP have already shown significant improvement in patient mortality and morbidity and are preventing 250 complications per hospital, per year.”
Yesterday’s announcement of the ACS-CDC collaboration comes on the heels of the National Quality Forum (NQF) endorsing two outcomes-based measures from ACS NSQIP earlier this year. The two measures, surgical site infection and urinary tract infection (UTI), were developed by ACS with input from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and CDC as possible national outcome measures that could be adopted by CMS as early as 2015. Five ACS NSQIP outcomes-based measures are now endorsed by NQF. Other endorsed measures include elderly surgery outcomes, colectomy outcomes, and lower-extremity vascular bypass outcomes.
An initial three-year period has been identified for the ACS-CDC collaboration to address surgical patient safety problems caused by SSIs and other infectious and noninfectious complications.