American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

ACS in the News 2015

December 2015

Preop Anticoagulation Safe, Reduces DVTs in Cancer Patients
Medscape, December 31, 2015

"For patients with cancer undergoing major surgery, the preoperative use of anticoagulants did not increase rates of major bleeding or the need for transfusions, according to new study results published online December 14 in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons...The impetus to conduct this study came about after researchers at MSKCC analyzed the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Project database and found that their institution had higher-than-expected rates of DVT and pulmonary embolism."

Geographic Access Issues with Liver Transplantation
MD Magazine, December 31, 2015

"The Journal of the American College of Surgeons published  information that informs this issue in a study, with specific focus on the links between market competition, liver transplant center density, and liver transplant volume within individual Donor Service Areas (DSAs). The United States is divided into 11 regions and each region, in turn, is divided into multiple DSAs...Areas in which more transplant centers were located and competition was great did more transplants than those with fewer transplant centers and little competition."

Safe to Use Blood Thinner Before Major Cancer Surgery, Study Finds
U.S. News & World Report, December 29, 2015

"Blood thinners such as heparin are commonly given to patients after surgery, but there is little data on their safety and effectiveness when administered before major cancer operations, say researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Based on the results, published online recently in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, the New York City cancer center has begun giving blood thinners to certain patients before major cancer surgery."

Why our health care system is broken
CNN, December 28, 2015

"The study, published recently in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, found what many doctors and nurses have long known to be true, that a hospital's culture is a powerful factor in a patient's surgical outcome."

ACS: Too soon for shift to antibiotics first for appendicitis
Healio, December 22, 2015

"Despite changes in European practice for the treatment of acute appendicitis, researchers from the American College of Surgeons said that is it too soon for United States to adopt an antibiotics-first treatment in lieu of appendectomy."

A Safety Culture Impacts Patients Outcomes
Outpatient Surgery Magazine, December 10, 2015

"For a study published online by the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore examined whether non-technical, organizational components of care had an impact on preventing surgical site infections after colon surgery."

New Survivorship Care Plan Template for Radiation Oncology
Medscape, December 4, 2015

"The template addresses new requirements set by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, which has mandated that cancer programs provide survivorship care plans for all curative cancer patients by 2019 to maintain accreditation."

November 2015

Study: Bariatric surgery for teens produces pronounced health benefits
The Columbus Dispatch, November 6, 2015

"Pediatric obesity surgery programs are beginning to seek accreditation through the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery and follow guidelines for caring for young patients, including counseling before surgery and support afterward, [Dr. Marc] Michalsky said."

New Approach to Postsurgical Care Reduces Patient Recovery Time After Liver Resection
Oncology Nurse Advisor, November 2, 2015

"Patients undergoing oncologic liver surgeries who participated in an enhanced recovery program returned sooner to their normal life function and to adjuvant cancer therapies than patients who were treated with a traditional approach to perioperative care. These findings were published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons."

October 2015

Risk Calculator Does Not Alter Surgeons' Choice to Operate
Medscape, October 15, 2015

“The surgical risk calculator, developed by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP), has a "high degree of predictive ability," according to study investigator Greg Sacks, MD, a surgery resident from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a research fellow at the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program.”

Helmet use reduces odds of head injuries in cyclists by 58%
Yahoo! News, October 12, 2015

“Urban cycling is a growing trend but not all new cyclists are choosing to wear a helmet on their journeys. A recent American study may help convince the reluctant as it shows that this indispensable accessory can help save lives and prevent head and face injuries…Their study was presented October 8 during the 2015 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons.”

Patients discharged too early end up less satisfied with their healthcare experience
FierceHealthcare, October 9, 2015

“Patients who are discharged from the hospital before they feel they are ready report lower levels of satisfaction with their healthcare experience, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.”

Intermountain saves $2.5 million with blood-tracking initiative
FierceHealthIT, October 8, 2015

“An initiative at Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare to reduce blood transfusions helped the 22-hospital system cut costs by $2.5 million over two years while significantly reducing hospital-acquired infections and mortality, according to research being presented this week at the 2015 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons.”

Patients who feel ready to leave the hospital are more satisfied
Reuters, October 8, 2015

“In a small study of hospitalized patients, those who felt ready to go home when they were discharged were more satisfied with the hospital and their caregivers than those who didn’t feel ready to go.

It may be useful to use patient readiness for discharge as one measure of quality of care, the authors write in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.”

Surgeon's Experience Tied to Success of Thyroid Removal: Study
US News & World Report, October 8, 2015

“Patients who undergo thyroid removal may be less likely to suffer complications if their surgeon performs many such surgeries each year, a new study says… The study was scheduled for presentation Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American College of Surgeons in Chicago.”

Colonoscopy Findings Fade Quickly From Memory
US News & World Report, October 8, 2015

“The percentage of patients who remembered the date of their last colonoscopy to within one month was 94 percent after two months, 42 percent after one year, 30 percent after two years and 28 percent after four years, according to the study presented this week at the annual meeting of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) in Chicago.”

Surgery May Raise Survival With Advanced Melanoma: Study
US News & World Report, October 8, 2015

“According to the study, nearly one in four patients had surgery to remove the mass from their abdomen. Patients who underwent the surgery lived more than twice as long as those who received drug treatment alone -- 18 months versus seven months, on average, the researchers reported.

The study was to be presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) in Chicago.”

Why life after beating cancer can be the hardest stage of the disease
Chicago Tribune, October 4, 2015

“Beginning in January, new mandates from the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer require that patients leave primary treatment with survivorship care plans. Doctors should discuss side effects, the group suggested, as well as resources for emotional or mental issues.”

September 2015

Surgery Patients Like Online Follow-up, Study Finds
US News & World Report, September 29, 2015

"The study included 50 patients who had both online and in-person care visits after elective gallbladder removal or hernia repair. Seventy-six percent said online care was acceptable as the only form of followup.

For 68 percent of the patients, online and in-person visits were equally effective, according to authors of the study published online Sept. 23 in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons."

Surgeons call patient follow-ups via portals, face-to-face 'equally effective'
FierceHealthIT, September 25, 2015

"Online communication via a patient portal was a preferred follow-up method for surgery patients, according to research published online in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons."

‘TraumaMan’ helps doctors save humans, spares animals
Reuters, September 25, 2015

“All the schools offer the American College of Surgeons-approved course, Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS). The TraumaMan simulator was developed specifically for that course 13 years ago and is now used to train more than 35,000 medical professionals a year, according to Simulab.”

Reduced prostate screening could miss advanced tumors
CBS News, September 24, 2015

“Using the U.S. National Cancer Database, [Dr. Daniel] Barocas and colleagues looked at the effect of the new guidelines on the number of new prostate cancer diagnoses between January 2010 and December 2012.

The researchers found that the number of prostate cancer diagnoses dropped more than 12 percent (1,363 cases) in the month after the draft guideline was issued. It continued to drop to an overall decline of 28 percent in the year after the draft guideline was issued.”

7 Reasons to Call Off a Surgery
Yahoo! News, September 21, 2015

“For one, if you come down with a serious medical condition like a severe fever or sudden respiratory infection (not just a cold), it may be best to reschedule the procedure, says Dr. David B. Hoyt, executive director of the American College of Surgeons.”

#ILookLikeASurgeon: Breaking Stereotypes and Promoting Diversity
Huffington Post, September 3, 2015

“It is time for us as surgeons, to break out of our stereotype and embrace the changing field. In the words of Dr. Andrew Warshaw, former Surgeon-in-Chief at Massachusetts General Hospital, and president-elect of the American College of Surgeons, ‘We all look alike in the OR. It's quality, not gender, that counts.’”

August 2015

Scoring System IDs Risk for Post-op Pulmonary Complications
HealthLeaders Media, August 7, 2015

"The researchers analyzed the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) data of nearly 7,500 patients who had elective general or vascular operations at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital between 2006 and 2013.

They created a scoring system that assigned points for different factors, such as being a current smoker (1 point), older than 60 (2 points), and having undergone esophagus procedures (3 points). Other risk factors were severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; signs of active infection or inflammatory response; and low albumin counts."

July 2015

Cutting junior doctors’ hours may not lower risk of surgical deaths
Reuters, July 30, 2015

“Over the past decade, concern for patient safety and the wellbeing of doctors in training, known as residents, has driven reductions in work hours and more rest between shifts for residents.

But these changes have in turn raised questions about whether more frequent handoffs of patient care from one clinician to the next might lead to mistakes, said lead study author Dr. Ravi Rajaram, a researcher at the American College of Surgeons and Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.”

American College of Surgeons clinical database drives improvements in surgical quality
FierceHealthcare, July 27, 2015

"The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) provides more accurate data for driving improvements in surgical quality than two other sources of administrative data, according to two new studies."

I-TEAM: Complication Rates Revealed for 17,000 Surgeons
NBC4 Los Angeles, July 22, 2015

"The American College of Surgeons released a statement Wednesday in response to the ratings. The group said the 'usefulness of the information' provided by the surgeon ratings is 'questionable for a number of reasons.'"

Do cellphones belong in the operating room?
Washington Post, July 13, 2015

“Such incidents are why physicians and medical groups including the American College of Surgeons, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and doctors who published an April paper for the American Society of Anesthesiologists have been issuing warnings about phones in the OR and calling for clear rules on whether and how they can be used. Many raised red flags about the potential for noise or distraction, while some also pointed to the possible challenge of infection control.”

Surgeons to review profusion of quality improvement initiatives
Modern Healthcare, July 11, 2015

“These various initiatives will be discussed at the American College of Surgeons' annual National Surgical Quality Improvement Program meeting July 25-28 in Chicago. About 1,400 are expected to attend the conference, which will includes sessions focused on value- and evidence-based care, the demand for greater teamwork in surgical care, and process improvement.

While he's supportive of the CMS' efforts to boost quality, Dr. Frank Opelka, medical director for quality and health policy for the American College of Surgeons, strikes a cautious note. There are risks about going down the wrong paths, he said. ‘Then it's hard to recover. The pros are that we are moving forward trying to match advances in medicine with potential business systems. The simple con is that it's hard to know which one is going to work and do they work in every market.’”

Resident work-hour restrictions don't help patient outcomes
FierceHealthcare, July 8, 2015

“Although restrictions on the number of hours resident physicians work are meant to reduce medical errors, the work-hour limits do not improve patient safety, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.”

When New Doctors 'Train' During Surgery, Risks Don't Rise: Study
U.S. News & World Report, July 6, 2015

“To see if there was any basis for the concern, the researchers looked at results of more than 16,000 brain and spine surgeries performed between 2006 and 2012. The information was from the database of the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program.”

‘Navigators’ for cancer patients: A nice perk or something more?
Washington Post, July 3, 2015

“The programs have been proliferating; since Jan. 1, they have been required for cancer centers seeking accreditation by the American College of Surgeons.

The idea was pioneered in 1990 by Harold P. Freeman, a doctor at Harlem Hospital who realized that his largely poor and uninsured patients were not receiving quality cancer care because they often got lost in the disjointed system. The programs spread to cancer centers across the United States, as well as some treatment facilities for a small number of other diseases.”

June 2015

Trauma registry yields significant increase in traumatic injury survival rates
U.S. Army, June 23, 2015

“JTS is one of five directorates at USAISR. Its additional responsibility is to write clinical practice guidelines and provide a source of institutional knowledge to inform future operations. The agency shares a strategic partnership with the American College of Surgeons, or ACS, Committee on Trauma and the Defense Health Agency, DHA, to ensure all surgeries, including trauma surgeries, in civilian and military environments are registered. JTS has also partnered with United Kingdom medical officers to establish data sharing agreements.”

How Many Steps a Day Should You Really Walk?
Huffington Post, June 22, 2015

“The new research shows that an activity as simple as walking could help to lessen this fatigue. The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons included 102 people who had just had surgery done for their pancreatic or periampullary cancers. Eighty-five percent of them reported having fatigue at a moderate to severe level.”

Breast-Conserving Tx Keeps Growing, but Disparities Persist
MedPage Today, June 21, 2015

“The National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) includes facility-level data (such as type of practice), in addition to clinical variables and demographics, providing a basis for revisiting the issue of practice-related disparities and their influence on use of BCT.

Investigators reviewed NCDB records for women with newly diagnosed T1-2 breast cancer during 1998 to 2011. The resulting data encompassed 727,927 patients. The principal objective was to identify factors associated with an increased or decreased likelihood of BCT.”

More women with breast cancer choose lumpectomy
CBS News, June 18, 2015

“The new study draws from a database that's more complete than those used in other research, [Dr. Isabelle] Bedrosian said. Her team looked at data on women treated for early stage breast cancer between 1998 and 2011. All were entered into the National Cancer Data Base, sponsored by the American College of Surgeons and the American Cancer Society. It captures about 70 percent of newly diagnosed cancer cases in the United States, the study authors said.”

Surgery May Boost Survival in Certain Advanced Lung Cancers
HealthDay, June 4, 2015

“In their research, [Dr. Varun] Puri and his colleagues evaluated data from the National Cancer Database on almost 9,200 patients with stage 3b non-small cell lung cancer who underwent a combination of treatments between 1998 and 2010.”

May 2015

General Surgery Safe for Pregnant Women, Study Shows
Medscape, May 14, 2015

"Using the American College of Surgeons' National Surgical Quality Improvement Program participant user file from January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2011, the investigators identified pregnant surgical patients and matched them, on the basis of 63 preoperative characteristics, with nonpregnant women undergoing the same operations by general surgeons."

Most Surgery Outcomes Aren’t Tracked
Smithsonian Magazine, May 4, 2015

"The study concluded that there’s a “substantial opportunity” for clinicians to increase the frequencies of national registries. In the meantime, analysts must rely on scant publicly available data — such as the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Database, which provided data for this recent study of how to identify and predict which patients are at high risk for hospital readmission after a surgery — as they look for ways to improve healthcare."

Worse survival after lung cancer surgery for residents of poor neighborhoods
Reuters, May 1, 2015

"Residents of low-income neighborhoods with few high school graduates may be more likely to die after lung cancer surgery than more affluent patients, a U.S. study finds...Fernandez and colleagues write in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons that the gold standard for longer survival is catching the cancer before it spreads and operating to remove the diseased tissue. Even then, major complications happen after as many as one in three surgeries."

April 2015

Study questions quality of US health data
Medical Xpress, April 30, 2015

“[Dr. Martin] Makary and team point out that several organizations maintained exemplary registries with rich, carefully analyzed data, audited and reported in a meaningful way…Makary says, data from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, maintained by the American College of Surgeons, have generated valuable insights about surgical infections, transformed practice and improved patient outcomes.”

The Impact of Stress While Living With Cancer
Huffington Post, April 30, 2015

"Although many hospitals and cancer centers have screened patients for emotional distress with accompanying counseling, it has become apparent that addressing the emotional concerns of cancer patients is paramount. Now, cancer centers will need to screen patients for distress to maintain their accreditation with the American College of Surgeons. This new and valuable mandatory offering will standardize emotional counseling that is necessary for many cancer patients."

Income May Affect Survival After Lung Cancer Surgery
US News & World Report, April 20, 2015

"Lung cancer patients with less income and education are more likely to die within 30 days of cancer surgery than those with more education and money, a new study finds.

The type of hospital where the surgery occurs also matters, said researchers who examined results of more than 215,000 lung cancer surgeries performed in the United States between 2003 and 2011.

The findings are published in the April 20 issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons."

March 2015

Patients Bounce Back Faster From Surgery With Hospitals’ New Protocol
Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2015

"Dr. [Traci] Hedrick is co-author of a study published online in February in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons that found that the new protocol, used in colorectal-surgery patients at the UVA health system, helped reduce the length of hospital stay by 2.2 days compared with a control group who had conventional treatment. It also reduced complications by 17% and increased patient satisfaction with pain control by 55%. There was a cost savings of $7,129 per patient."

Mastectomies on the Rise in Venezuela Amid Economic Crisis
ABC News, March 24, 2015

"Mastectomies were once the go-to procedure for women with breast tumors, but doctors now favor radiation treatment paired with less invasive surgeries that leave some of the breast intact. Only about a third of breast cancer patients in the U.S. who are treated with surgery undergo some kind of mastectomy, according to the American College of Surgeons."

Canadian-born surgeon Susan Mackinnon pioneered nerve transfer surgery
Ottawa Citizen, March 13, 2015

“Nerve transfer surgery reconnects a working nerve to a healthy muscle by rerouting it down another nerve’s pathway to the hand.  Two years ago, [Dr. Susan] Mackinnon received the prestigious Jacobson Innovation Award of the American College of Surgeons for her pioneering work…During her trailblazing career, Mackinnon has developed a series of new treatments for patients with serious peripheral nerve injuries.”

Whole peanuts dangerous for kids under 5
Health eNews Daily, March 11, 2015

“A new study finds that children who are exposed to food containing peanuts early in life may avoid being allergic to the popular food. This sounds like good news, but The American College of Surgeons (ACS), as well as, the American Academy of Pediatrics section for Otolaryngology advise against babies and young children eating whole peanuts or even smaller pieces as they are a choking hazard.”

Study: Participating in ACS NSQIP Provides Surgical Outcome Improvements Over Time
Surgical Products, March 2, 2015

“The majority of hospitals participating in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Project (ACS NSQIP) improve surgical outcomes over time, and improvement continues with each year that hospitals participate in the program, according to a new study published online today in 
Annals of Surgery.

February 2015

Too Few Breast Cancer Patients Getting Radiation After Mastectomy: Study
US News & World Report, February 17, 2015

"If women with locally advanced breast cancer plan to have a mastectomy but are not offered follow-up radiation therapy, they should ask their doctor why, [Dr. Quyen Chu, professor of surgery at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center] recommended.

The study was published online recently in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons."

Is da Vinci Robotic Surgery a Revolution or a Ripoff?
Healthline, February 12, 2015

"Dr. Fabrizio Michelassi, the chair of the department of surgery at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York and chair of the board of governors of the American College of Surgeons, said surgeons are obligated to educate their patients on what the evidence says are the pros and cons of robotic surgery.

'Unless we inform the patient population on this, there will be a drive from the consumer that trumps everything else, because at that point hospitals and physicians are caught in a difficult dilemma,'Michelassi said. 'Hospitals and physicians are caught in the dilemma to either continue to deliver optimal care or to respond to market requests.'"

Trauma surgery may not be riskier at night
Reuters, February 6, 2015

"The findings also might not be relevant for more complex surgeries, said Dr. Carlos Pellegrini, chair of the surgery department at the University of Washington in Seattle and a past president of the American College of Surgeons.

'The exploratory laparotomy in general is a relatively straightforward procedure for which mortality or morbidity are very low,' said Pellegrini, who wasn’t involved in the study."

Infections Most Common Cause of Readmissions After Surgery
New York Times, February 3, 2015

"The researchers analyzed 2012 data from 346 hospitals involved in an American College of Surgeons quality improvement program. Results were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study notes that hospital readmissions are a focus of nationwide efforts to control hospital costs and improve quality of patient care."

Studies Find Tracking Surgical Complications Doesn’t Improve Outcomes
Wall Street Journal, February 3, 2015

"Clifford Ko, director of the American College of Surgeons’ division of research and optimal patient care, said the data the two studies relied on, based on billing codes, aren’t accurate gauges of patient outcomes. He also said that most hospitals use the registry data individually, to target specific areas of care for improvement, not for broad comparisons. 'Hospitals need data, and it has to be good data,' Dr. Ko said."

January 2015

Trauma kits help police control severe bleeding, saving lives
Washington Post, January 26, 2015

"In 2012, the FBI and the American College of Surgeons gathered medical and law enforcement leaders from around the country to review such incidents and come up with ways to improve victim survival rates. They took inspiration from the emergency medical training and supplies soldiers receive for combat situations."

Saving Blood, Dollars and Lives
Wall Street Journal, January 15, 2015

"Following the right guidelines on blood transfusion could reverse these disturbing trends. Analyzing data on transfusions from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, we estimate that reducing blood usage by 30%—a fairly conservative target for eliminating waste—could result in a repurposing of 12 million nursing hours, annual reductions of 200,000 wound complications and eight million fewer patient days in the hospital; as many as 50,000 lives could be saved."