Successful implementation of the Department of Veterans Affairs' National Surgical Quality Improvement Program in the private sector: the Patient Safety in Surgery study

Ann Surg. 2008 Aug;248(2):329-36. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e3181823485.


Background: The Veterans Affairs' (VA) National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) has been associated with significant reductions in postoperative morbidity and mortality. We sought to determine if NSQIP methods and risk models were applicable to private sector (PS) hospitals and if implementation of the NSQIP in the PS would be associated with reductions in adverse postoperative outcomes.

Methods: Data from patients (n = 184,843) undergoing major general or vascular surgery between October 1, 2001, and September 30, 2004, in 128 VA hospitals and 14 academic PS hospitals were used to develop prediction models based on VA patients only, PS patients only, and VA plus PS patients using logistic regression modeling, with measures of patient-related risk as the independent variables and 30-day postoperative morbidity or mortality as the dependent variable.

Results: Nine of the top 10 predictors of postoperative mortality and 7 of the top 10 for postoperative morbidity were the same in the VA and PS models. The ratios of observed to expected mortality and morbidity in the PS hospitals based on a model using PS data only versus VA + PS data were nearly identical (correlation coefficient = 0.98). Outlier status of PS hospitals was concordant in 26 of 28 comparisons. Implementation of the NSQIP in PS hospitals was associated with statistically significant reductions in overall postoperative morbidity (8.7%, P = 0.002), surgical site infections (9.1%, P = 0.02), and renal complications (23.7%, P = 0.004).

Conclusions: The VA NSQIP methods and risk models in general and vascular surgery were fully applicable to PS hospitals. Thirty-day postoperative morbidity in PS hospitals was reduced with the implementation of the NSQIP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Health Plan Implementation / organization & administration*
  • Hospital Mortality / trends*
  • Hospitals, Private / standards*
  • Hospitals, Veterans / standards*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Private Sector
  • Program Evaluation
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care*
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care
  • Safety Management / organization & administration
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / mortality
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / standards*
  • United States
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs