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August 20, 2013 > Raising the Bar on the Quality of Surgical Care

Raising the Bar on the Quality of Surgical Care

When they need surgery, patients and families look to hospitals to provide advanced treatment that is safe and effective. At Washington Hospital in Fremont, offering the highest quality surgical care has always been a top priority. Together with the surgeons on its medical staff, the Hospital continuously seeks more and better ways to provide the best possible treatment that meets the needs and expectations of its patients and the community.

To get a clear picture of the quality of surgical care it provides, Washington Hospital tracks and analyzes a number of factors associated with port-surgical outcomes, such as breathing failures, serious blood clots, and mortality of patients with complications.

"In all of these areas, Washington Hospital is better than or the same as the national hospital rate," said Barbara Eusebio, RN, JD, CPHQ, the Hospital's chief of Quality and Resource Management, in a report to the Board of Directors of Washington Township Healthcare District last month.

Now, Washington Hospital is planning to launch an important new initiative to further improve the quality of its surgical care. In conjunction with the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, it is planning to participate in the highly respected American College of Surgeons (ACS) National Surgical Quality Improvement Program.

"There are several reasons why the ACS program is so excellent," explained Eusebio. "It was developed by surgeons, and it focuses on clinical data. In addition, it is adjusted for risk and case mix, so it levels the playing field for hospitals regardless of the health status of their patient population. The program also uses national benchmarking and follows outcomes for 30 days after surgery, which is key to getting an accurate picture of how well patients do post-surgically."

As a program participant, the Hospital will voluntarily submit data related to surgeries from its medical records. This data helps measure specific factors proven to contribute to better surgical outcomes, such as preoperative risk factors, surgical patient mortality, surgical site infections and post-operative occurrences. The Hospital's performance will then be compared against that of a large group of hospitals across the country.

Washington Hospital will use all of this information as the basis for taking steps to further improve its surgical care and patient outcomes. According to ACS, of hospitals currently participating in the program, 82 percent have decreased surgical complications and 66 percent have decreased mortality. Participating hospitals are projected to avoid an average of between 250 to 500 complications per year.

As it prepares to work with the ACS program, Washington Hospital is collaborating closely with surgeons on its medical staff in planning the best approach to the project.

"This exciting new program will have a direct impact on patient outcomes at Washington Hospital," added Eusebio. "People who come here for surgery can be confident that, besides offering some of the most advanced surgical treatment in the region, we are doing everything possible to provide the safest, most effective care in response to their needs."

Learn more

For more information about Washington Hospital and its Quality initiatives, go online to www.whhs.com/quality. To learn more about the American College of Surgeons, visit www.facs.org.

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