National Quality Forum Endorses SSI and UTI Measures Developed by ACS

Two outcomes-based measures from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) were recently endorsed by the National Quality Forum (NQF). The two measures, surgical site infection (SSI) and urinary tract infection (UTI), were developed by ACS in partnership with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), as possible national outcomes measures that could be adopted by the governmental body as early as 2015.

"Increasingly, our national health system is looking for better ways to measure quality care. Better data creates more opportunities to improve the care hospitals provide patients. That's why it will be important to measure quality using clinical, risk-adjusted and nationally benchmarked outcomes-based measures," says Clifford Y. Ko, MD, MS, MSHS, FACS, director of the ACS Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care. "Endorsement of these measures brings us closer to implementing outcomes-based measures on a national level."

In recent months, ACS has worked with the CDC to harmonize SSI measures developed by each organization. The newly endorsed SSI measure is a joint measure of ACS and CDC with the intent that participation with the measure may be performed through either ACS NSQIP or the CDC National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) program.

With these endorsements, a total of five ACS NSQIP outcomes-based measures have now been endorsed by NQF. Previously endorsed measures include elderly surgery outcomes, colectomy outcomes and lower-extremity vascular bypass outcomes. All five measures were developed by ACS in partnership with CMS based on an ongoing evaluation of scientific evidence. A directory of these five quality measures can be viewed on the National Quality Forum website.

As part of its move toward using clinical outcomes data to drive quality improvement in health care, CMS also recently announced the ACS NSQIP Hospital Compare pilot using three of the measures NQF previously endorsed (elderly surgery outcomes, colectomy outcomes, and lower-extremity bypass outcomes). This pilot marks the first time hospitals across the country have the opportunity to report surgical outcomes to Hospital Compare, the CMS website that provides quality information to health care consumers. Data from the pilot will be publicly available on the CMS Hospital Compare website beginning in October 2012. The effort is part of a two-year CMS pilot program using the three measures.