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Mayo Clinic chest surgeons propose measures for indicating quality of lung surgery
Date:9/9/2008

ROCHESTER, Minn. - Even though 30,000 patients in the United States undergo lung surgery each year, no standard criteria exist to measure the quality of their care. In the current issue of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, Mayo Clinic surgeons have proposed a system of lung surgery quality indicators for surgeons and the public as a method to demonstrate best practices for obtaining positive patient outcomes.

Death rates following surgery are frequently reported. However, because they aren't adjusted for factors such as patient age and disease severity, they don't tell the whole story. To overcome this lack of risk adjustment in death rate data, the Mayo Clinic team proposed patient-centered processes that should occur prior to, during and after surgery to assure the likelihood of best surgical outcomes.

"There are certain processes that we can measure and report that clearly indicate whether patients have received high-quality care around the time of their lung operation," explains Stephen Cassivi, M.D., Mayo Clinic thoracic surgeon and lead study author.

"Knowing this data can help patients decide about the care they are about to receive and where to go to receive that care - and equally important, this knowledge can help chest surgery programs improve their quality of care by concentrating on identified weaknesses," Dr. Cassivi says. "Creating standards through measures of process will allow for directed quality improvement initiatives across all surgical centers."

The criteria were first presented at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

In an accompanying editorial in the same issue of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, Alex Little, M.D., chair of the department of surgery at Wright State Boonshoft School of Medicine, Dayton, Ohio, asserts that developing these process measures of quality to improve patient outcomes has a "certain moral imperative." The editorial goes on to state: "We
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Contact: Traci Klein
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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