Tennessee Hospital Collaborative improves surgical outcomes, reduces cost

Ten hospitals in Tennessee who joined together and used the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) system to share surgical process and outcomes data were able to improve surgical outcomes and reduce cost, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

For the study, NSQIP data was examined for the period before the collaborative and compared to data after the collaborative was in place. 

The researchers found that after the collaborative formed, there was significant improvement in some areas, including a 5% reduction in patients on ventilators for over 48 hours, and a 60% reduction in graft/prosthesis failure.  Other improvements included acute renal failure and surgical site infections.  By reducing complications, cost also went down. 

The authors note that although there were many improvements, an exact cause for the improvements is not readily obvious. 

(Sources: The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, January 27, 2012; The Journal of the American College of Surgeons, http://www.journalacs.org/, January 2012)