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

Benefits of ACS NSQIP

Too often patients suffer from complications that might have been prevented. One study showed that each year a hospital participates in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®), it has the opportunity to reduce the number of complications by 250 to 500 and save 12 to 36 lives.1 If every U.S. hospital used ACS NSQIP, each year we could save more than 100,000 lives, prevent more than 2.5 million complications and reduce costs by more than $25 billion.

What can ACS NSQIP do for your hospital?

Benefits for Patients

  • Fewer complications. For patients at Surrey Memorial Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia, the rate of surgical site infections after breast surgery dropped significantly. An estimated 75 infections were averted over the course of two years.
  • Better outcomes. Eighty-two percent of ACS NSQIP hospitals saw improvement in postoperative morbidity levels and 66 percent improved mortality levels.2
  • Shorter hospital stays. At Decatur General Hospital in Decatur, Ala., the hospital length of stay for patients with urinary tract infections (UTI) was twice as long as for patients without UTI at the beginning of ACS NSQIP implementation. Within one year, length of stay was the same for patients whether or not they had UTI, and the rate of post-surgical UTI fell from 3.1 percent to 0.8 percent.
  • Greater satisfaction.

Benefits for Surgeons

Since ACS NSQIP was developed and is supported by surgeons, the program promotes the confidence and engagement of medical teams. Surgeons who use ACS NSQIP receive:

  • Better data for more targeted decision-making:
    • Peer-controlled, validated data from patients’ medical charts lets surgeons quantify 30-day, risk-adjusted surgical outcomes, including post-discharge, when nearly 50 percent of complications occur.
    • A variety of program options tailored to your hospital’s size and quality improvement interests.
  • Robust reports that provide performance information to guide surgical care and identify areas for improvement for the greatest return and highest impact:
    • Continuously updated hospital performance reports and benchmarking analyses available in real time.
    • Nationally benchmarked and risk-adjusted reports provided semiannually.
    • Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Part IV credit for all surgeons at hospitals participating in the program.
    • Best practices tools, including Case Studies and evidence-based guidelines developed by ACS.
    • Opportunities to participate in regional and virtual collaboratives with other hospitals.
    • Preoperative risk calculator:
      • Online tool helps clinicians make evidence-based decisions, and helps set reasonable patient expectations.
      • Takes into account patient risk factors like age and BMI for a growing number of common surgical procedures.
      • Better predictive ability than most other models.

Benefits for Hospitals

  • Sustained reduction in postoperative mortality and complication rates, and disparities of care.
  • Lower costs of care.
  • Enhanced community reputation through improved patient outcomes:
    • Ability to lead on issues, such as greater transparency, public reporting and pay-for-performance programs.
    • Widespread recognition among government and national quality organizations. Using ACS NSQIP satisfies Joint Commission OPPE requirements and is noted on the Joint Commission’s Quality Check website.
    • Will satisfy Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services surgical quality measure (NQF #0493) to be implemented in 2014, “Participation in a Systematic Clinical Database Registry for General Surgery.”
    • Participation in ACS NSQIP prevents from 250 to 500 complications per hospital per year.3
    • All hospital types—large and small, urban and rural, teaching and non-teaching—are able to improve, and those whose results were poorer when they joined the program saw the greatest improvement, thus reducing disparities of care.
    • Complications can raise the cost of hospitalization for major surgical procedures up to five-fold. The average additional cost for a major surgical complication is $11,626.4

1 Hall, BL et al. “Does Surgical Quality Improve in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program.” Annals of Surgery. 205 (3):363-376; Sept, 2009.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid.
4 Dimick, J.B., et al., “Who Pays for Poor Surgical Quality? Building a Business Case for Quality Improvement,” Journal of the American College of Surgeons. 202. 202(6):933-7; June, 2006.