WA initiative monitors surgical care

Hoping to improve surgical quality and cut costs, a group of Washington-state doctors and hospitals has begun voluntarily gathering and sharing surgery data. The group, the Surgical Care and Outcomes Assessment Program (SCOAP), is working to eliminate inappropriate variations in practice, in much the same way manufacturers optimize their building process. It's funded by a $1.3 million grant from the state's Life Sciences Discovery fund.

SCOAP members are asked to track whether they are following key steps the group has identified as being best practices for general surgery. It then provides the hospitals with quarterly reports letting them know how they compare with other hospitals, including how both their levels of compliance with best practices and their clinical incomes track.

The group, which already includes 18 hospitals and about 250 surgeons, hopes to enroll the state's 32 remaining hospitals in their effort as well. It expects to do so, in part, by offering $50,000 challenge grants to hospitals that show the greatest improvements.

To learn more about the group:
- read this Puget Sound Business Journal piece

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