Background: Surgical quality improvement collaboratives (QICs) aim to improve patient outcomes through coaching, benchmarked data reporting, and other activities. Although other regional QICs have formed organically over time, it is unknown whether a comprehensive quality improvement program implemented simultaneously across hospitals at the formation of a QIC would improve patient outcomes.
Study design: Patients undergoing surgery at 48 hospitals in the Illinois Surgical Quality Improvement Collaborative (ISQIC) were included. Risk-adjusted rates of postoperative morbidity and mortality were compared from baseline to year 3. Difference-in-differences analyses compared ISQIC hospitals with hospitals in the NSQIP Participant Use File (PUF), which served as a control.
Results: There were 180,582 patients who underwent surgery at ISQIC-participating hospitals. Inpatient procedures comprised 100,219 (55.5%) cases. By year 3, risk-adjusted rates of death or serious morbidity decreased in both ISQIC (relative reduction 25.0%, p < 0.001) and PUF hospitals (7.8%, p < 0.001). Adjusted difference-in-differences analysis revealed that ISQIC participation was associated with a significantly greater reduction in death or serious morbidity (odds ratio 0.94, 95% CI 0.90 to 0.99, p = 0.01) compared with PUF hospitals. Relative reductions in risk-adjusted rates of other outcomes were also seen in both ISQIC and PUF hospitals (morbidity 22.4% vs 6.4%; venous thromboembolism 20.0% vs 5.0%; superficial surgical site infection 27.3% vs 7.7%, all p < 0.05), although these difference-in-differences did not reach statistical significance.
Conclusions: Although complication rates decreased at both ISQIC and PUF hospitals, participation in ISQIC was associated with a significantly greater improvement in death or serious morbidity. These results underscore the potential of QICs to improve patient outcomes.
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