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

ACS and NC Leaders Identify Challenges, Opportunities for Improving Quality


CHICAGO (February 19, 2014): The American College of Surgeons (ACS) hosted the ACS Surgical Health Care Quality Forum North Carolina, one of a series of state-specific forums to infuse local learnings into the national discussion on effective quality improvement methods that surgeons, physicians and hospitals are using to improve patient safety and reduce costs.

The forum was held at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill and featured a panel of health care leaders who discussed the political realities of improving our nation’s health care system, as well as the importance of collaborating and using proven programs to increase the value of health care. Forum speakers underscored the importance of quality from a broad policy and public health perspective, but also shared tangible solutions at the delivery level that measurably improve patient safety and outcomes.

Keynote speaker, U.S. Congressman David Price (D-NC4) said, “With our strong health systems and commitment to research and development, North Carolina is well positioned to be a leader in the new health care provider economy, and that includes thinking about how we harness advances to create better health outcomes. Going forward, policymakers cannot focus solely on improving health care accessibility. Efforts to improve quality, such as those developed by ACS, must go hand-in-hand with promoting expanded access.”

“This forum was a unique opportunity to get all the key stakeholders in the room—from health plans, to academia, government and hospitals—and learn from each other about how we can work together toward the same vision and mission of advancing our health care system,” said co-host Mark C. Weissler, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair, Board of Regents, American College of Surgeons; Joseph P. Riddle Distinguished Professor of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery and division chief of head and neck oncology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; director, American Board of Otolaryngology.

Speakers from UNC Hospitals and the UNC Health Care System discussed programs they have used to achieve marked quality improvement, including the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program® (ACS NSQIP®), a leading and successful model giving more than 500 hospitals across the country reliable data to help pinpoint areas for improvement. ACS NSQIP is unique from other quality programs because it uses risk- and procedure mix-adjusted data that are taken from the patient’s medical chart, not insurance claims, and is based on 30-day patient outcomes.

“Progress in health care quality will come from organizations that are willing to challenge their own outcomes and learn from others,” said keynote speaker William L. Roper, MD, MPH, dean of the school of medicine, vice chancellor for medical affairs, and chief executive officer of the UNC Health Care System. “Accountable care organizations, patient-centered medical facilities and greater integration will lead to enhanced care that is safer, more cost-effective and better for patients overall. By working together, health care organizations can identify solutions to quality issues, and achieve better outcomes for patients.”

David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, ACS Executive Director, added, “Institutions that really commit to improving quality can have a dramatic effect on patient outcomes. For example, hospitals that have standardized their processes, are accountable for performance, use the right data, and have engagement at all levels have helped the country lower overall blood stream infection rates by 45 percent over the past five years.”

Co-host Timothy M. Farrell, MD, FACS, President of the North Carolina Chapter of the American College of Surgeons; professor of surgery, division of GI surgery, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, closed the forum by urging continued collaboration between surgeons, hospital administrators and payers. “We gathered today to discuss what we have done as a community to improve quality thus far, but there is much more that must be done. Let's commit to quality measurement using reliable, risk-adjusted data, and to creating an environment where these data can be freely shared across peer institutions to drive the important work of quality improvement.”

This is the 16th community forum the ACS has hosted since launching its Inspiring Quality initiative in 2011.

The full video of the North Carolina forum will be available at and on the College’s YouTube channel in the coming days.

# # #

About the American College of Surgeons
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 79,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit


Sally Garneski American College of Surgeons

Trish Corprew
Weber Shandwick