Tennessee hospital quality program cuts complications 20%, saves 533 lives

Hospitals participating in the Tennessee Surgical Quality Collaborative (TSQC) saved more than 500 lives and cut costs by more than $75 million.

The collaborative, established in 2008, announced it gathered clinical 30-day outcomes from 10 participating hospitals to analyze trends and identify best practices. The hospitals gathered data on more than 55,000 surgical procedures and 17 different surgical complication categories between 2009 and 2012, according to research presented at the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) National Conference.

In the period analyzed, participating hospitals cut complications by 19.7 percent, and postoperative mortality fell 31.5 percent. The data also found improvements in 13 of the 17 categories of complication, with the greatest improvement found in pneumonia, urinary tract infections and surgical site infections, all of which fell about one-third.

"Our results show not only have Tennessee hospitals improved care, but we've been able to sustain those improvements over time," said lead author Brian Daley, M.D., a professor of surgery and chief of the division of trauma and critical care at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville, according to the statement. 

A study earlier this year found using the ACS NSQIP's registry can help hospital physicians identify patients who are at risk for post-surgical complications and reduce the unplanned admissions they cause, FierceHealthcare previously reported. For example, "[i]f a patient's predicted risk of complications is high, which we've shown puts them at greater risk of readmission, a physician might decide to move the patient to the intensive care unit or a step-down unit after surgery, as opposed to a regular hospital unit that manages less sick patients," said lead author Laurent G. Glance, M.D. 

To learn more:
- read the announcement