The ASBS Bariatric Surgery Centers of Excellence program: a blueprint for quality improvement

Surg Obes Relat Dis. Sep-Oct 2006;2(5):497-503; discussion 503. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2006.07.004.


Background: Variations in the techniques of bariatric surgery, coupled with the lack of a common database, has led to variable and, sometimes negative, outcomes from bariatric surgery. Thus, in November 2003, the American Society for Bariatric Surgery established Surgical Review Corporation (SRC) as an independent nonprofit entity for quality control of bariatric surgery and as a resource for data collection and analysis.

Methods: In November 2003, the leadership of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery founded SRC as an independent nonprofit entity for quality control of bariatric surgery and as resource for research. A national set of standards for the Bariatric Surgery Centers of Excellence program was developed using a meta-analysis of the relevant published English language data, a consensus conference at Georgetown University, and participation by stakeholders from industry, third-party payors, and malpractice carriers. A software program was developed to provide uniformity in data collection and ease of analysis.

Results: SRC developed standards that have been accepted by the bariatric surgical community and put in place. A system was developed for the designation of two levels for the centers, provisional and full. The growth of the Centers of Excellence program has been rapid. At present, 135 hospitals and 265 surgeons have achieved full approval. The centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have recognized the program. On the basis of the reports of 55,567 patients from the first 176 applicants for full approval and confirmed by SRC during site inspections, the 90-day operative mortality rate was 0.35%.

Conclusions: The first phase of development has gone well. Future steps include the development of a network of bariatric physicians and the development of a consortium for research.

MeSH terms

  • Bariatric Surgery / standards*
  • Bariatrics / standards*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Health Facilities / standards
  • Health Facility Administration
  • Humans
  • Models, Organizational
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Program Development
  • Quality Control
  • Societies, Medical
  • Total Quality Management
  • United States