Patients who come to New York Hospital Queens for heart surgery, a hip implant or gynecological surgery and so many other procedures are quite simply in good hands. Our surgeons are leaders in their fields who are backed up by an academic program that keeps clinical capabilities on the cutting edge of technology and advancing surgical protocols.
It is one thing to make this claim, and another to prove it. Most of us are familiar with the magazines that list the best hospitals and doctors. When you take a closer look at how those lists are compiled, the sources for those ratings vary from “popular vote” to apples-to-oranges comparison data. The ratings are as varied as the organizations’ agendas that publish those lists or use them to generate readership and revenue. So how do you sort out the hype and choose the best hospital for your patients or loved ones? The answer is to choose a hospital, like NYHQ, that measures surgical outcomes in a scientifically validated way.
The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, (NSQIP) provides a valid comparison of surgical outcomes, such as a reduction in surgical site infections and deep vein thrombosis, among hospitals. Participating hospitals and their surgical teams are provided with the tools, reports, analysis, and support necessary to make informed decisions about improving quality of care. Today, there are 268 hospitals enrolled in NSQIP, covering 40 states and six international sites. NYHQ has been participating since 2007 and we measure our performance for “routine” surgeries such as cataract and foot surgeries as well in more specialized surgery, such as orthopaedic and gynecological procedures.
NSQIP was established as a performance evaluation process in Veterans Affairs Hospitals in the 1990s. Participating hospitals saw a 27 percent decline in post-operative mortality; a 45 percent drop in post-operative morbidity (illness), a drop in the average length of stay after surgery and increased patient satisfaction. In 2004, the American College of Surgeons extended the program to private hospitals. Studies in peer-reviewed medical journals found that hospitals that were members of NSQIP had similar (strengthened) outcomes.
NYHQ is one of only 19 hospitals in New York State to participate in the program and one of only a few community hospitals. The majority of NSQIP members are larger hospitals, such as major academic centers, because it requires committing staff resources to meet their stringent reporting requirements. We began participating early on because we felt it was a good investment that would allow us raise the bar on the standard of quality surgical care we deliver, and that each surgical patient would benefit from our rigorous attention to performance.
NSQIP is becoming the gold standard for surgical outcomes. The Institute of Medicine (the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences) named NSQIP “the best in the nation” for measuring and reporting surgical quality and outcomes. The Joint Commission now provides merit badges on their Quality Check website for hospitals that participate in NSQIP. The American Board of Surgery requires participation in a national, regional or local surgical outcomes database, such as NSQIP, to satisfy one of its Maintenance of Certification requirements.
James Turner, M.D., Chairman of Surgery, serves as the hospital’s NSQIP surgical champion. He strongly believes, as do I, that our involvement in NSQIP demonstrates that we are committed to providing the highest quality of surgical performance as measured by scientifically accepted standards.
In short—select a hospital, and a surgery program that walks the talk of outcomes. For more information on NSQIP and the surgical program at NYHQ please contact Dr. Turner at 718-670-1566.
Stephen S. Mills, F.A.C.H.E.
For the complete President’s Message, visit: http://www.nyhq.org/oth/Page.asp?PageID=OTH001401