Providence’s participation in NSQIP results in successful patient outcomes

W. Kent Williamson, M.D., chief of surgery, Providence St Vincent Medical Center

Several years ago, the Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals ranking named Providence Health & Services among the top 20 percent of best-performing systems in the country. Providence was recognized for saving more lives, better long-term outcomes, better adherence to accepted care protocols and patient-safety standards, shorter hospital stays, higher patient-satisfaction scores and fewer patient complications.

Our quality improvement work is centered around the vision that patients in every care setting, in every community we serve should receive the same high-quality, compassionate care. A key component to achieving this success has been our participation in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Project.

The NSQIP program was born in 1994 after the Department of Veterans Affairs’ health care system launched a robust program to address concerns over surgical quality. Over time, as the VA focused on results returned from the NSQIP program, postoperative mortality dropped by 47 percent and morbidity by 43 percent. The magnitude of this kind of benefit was reproduced in other non-VA systems. In 2001, the ACS partnered with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to expand the program both in the variety of specialties evaluated and the number of hospitals participating.

Since the initial roll-out, several studies have been conducted, revealing the substantial impact that NSQIP has on improved outcomes. Hospitals that actively participate in the NSQIP program will prevent up to 500 complications per year and save up to 36 lives per year. Not surprisingly, NSQIP-driven changes that result in lower morbidity and mortality also achieve better value in health care, with millions of dollars saved per year. These benefits fall squarely within Providence’s Mission and the vision of the Triple Aim.

More than 20 ACS NSQIP collaborative efforts exist throughout the nation, and this number is growing. The Oregon NSQIP collaborative, led by Providence St. Vincent surgeon Ali Khaki, M.D., has nine participating hospitals from multiple systems. To date, 486 hospitals throughout the U.S. and Canada participate in NSQIP. With such large participation, we are afforded the valuable opportunity to measure our outcomes compared to a large number of other hospitals using the same methods of data attribution and analysis.

NSQIP has grown in scope to include a number of surgical specialties, such as general, vascular, colorectal, orthopedic, gynecologic, plastic, urologic and pediatric surgeries. The core of the success of this valuable program is driven by the large number of staff and physician champions we have within Providence. We can all be very proud of the great work our team is producing.