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Florida Surgical Care Initiative

Health Care

Florida Hospitals, Surgeons Launch Initiative to Improve Quality

Focus is on four areas concerning infections and surgical outcomes

Published: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - 11:06

(FSCI: Orlando, FL) -- Florida hospitals and surgeons recently launched a new initiative to improve patient safety and the quality of surgical care while reducing costs throughout the state. The Florida Surgical Care Initiative (FSCI), a joint initiative of the Florida Hospital Association (FHA), the American College of Surgeons (ACS), and the ACS Florida chapter, is a unique statewide collaboration that will focus on reducing surgical complications and improving the quality of care in participating hospitals.

To date, 71 hospitals have signed letters of intent to join the program. The goal is to recruit at least 100 Florida hospitals to the program, which will officially kick off in October.

“Quality care is a core value for our hospitals and surgeons, but complications still occur,” says FHA president Bruce Rueben. “By working together, we’ll be able to significantly improve care, prevent complications, reduce costs, and demonstrate to the nation that Florida is a leader in quality health care.”

A critical issue being addressed is regional variations in the quality and cost of care. The FSCI will enable Florida hospitals to proactively address this issue. Supported in part by a grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, the FSCI will focus on four key areas: surgical site infections and urinary tract infections (two of the most common complications), colorectal surgery outcomes (an area with higher rates of complications), and elderly surgery outcomes (since elderly patients are more likely to experience complications).

The initiative was developed based on the American College of Surgeons (ACS) National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP), a program that uses risk-adjusted, 30-day clinical outcomes data to review and assess outcomes and complications related to surgical care. The use of ACS NSQIP has been shown to significantly reduce complications and deaths in participating hospitals and to help hospitals save money by preventing costly complications. Studies show complications can add $11,000 or more to the cost of care for each patient who experiences one.

Baptist Hospital of Miami, part of the Baptist Health South Florida System, joined the NSQIP program in 2006. “Our board of directors, senior executive leadership, and surgeons had the foresight to appreciate that the NSQIP would provide us with evidence-based measures, a scrupulous framework for reliable and valid data collection, and the ability to compare our surgical outcomes with high-performing organizations,” says Jillian Knight, a registered nurse and a surgical case reviewer for the ACS NSQIP. “The NSQIP system is consistent with our improvement philosophy of going from good to great performance. The NSQIP outcomes data validates the effectiveness of the staff’s extremely hard work and effort to improve surgical patient care and safety. The program has helped us to move our performance in nearly every measure to exemplary status.”

Knight adds that Baptist Health South Florida is currently the only health care system in South Florida that is participating in NSQIP to evaluate outcomes in order to improve surgical care.

For more information about FSCI, visit www.floridasurgicalcare.org.

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About The Author

Florida Surgical Care Initiative

Through a new collaborative called the Florida Surgical Care Initiative (FSCI), the Florida Hospital Association and the American College of Surgeons are bringing hospitals and surgeons together in a statewide effort to prevent surgical complications, reduce costs and improve the quality of care for our patients. Our goal is to make Florida a national leader in health care quality.