Data Sharing Helps Michigan Hospitals Improve Patient Safety

Pooling data on best practices for surgery resulted in improved outcomes for a group of hospitals in Michigan, and may serve as a model for other states.

A data sharing project conducted by 16 hospitals in Michigan resulted in lower costs and helped reduce surgical complications by nearly 10%, according to research published in Archives of Surgery.

In the study, data from more than 35,000 patients undergoing surgery between April 2005 and December 2007 were pooled as part of the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative (MSQC), a project led by researchers at the University of Michigan Health System.

Darrell A. Campbell Jr., MD, and colleagues evaluated patients undergoing general and vascular surgery in 16 Michigan hospitals on a quarterly basis to “discuss surgical quality, to identify best practices, and to assess problems with process implementation.” The goal, according to the study, was to determine whether a regional collaborative approach is an efficient platform for surgical quality improvement.

Investigators compared results from MSQC patients with a cohort of more than 280,000 patients receiving care in 126 non-Michigan hospitals participating in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP). Campbell and colleagues found that patients in the MSQC group demonstrated improved morbidity rates compared with the ACS NSQIP group, and were “significantly” less likely to experience post-surgery complications. Patients in the ACS NSQIP group, on the other hand, showed no change in complication rates.

Researchers also found that the hospitals participating in the Michigan collaborative were able to reduce spending by about $13 million on cases of ventilator-associated pneumonia. According to the study, the most significant improvements were made in preventing blood infections, cardiac arrest, prolonged ventilator use, and septic shock.

The collaborative, said the authors, resulted in “significant improvement in quality and high levels of participant satisfaction.”

And the potential is there for improvements on a much larger scale, according to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, which supported the project by reimbursing participating hospitals and covering the cost of technology needed to analyze the data. In an online report, David Share, executive medical director for health care quality at BCBS of Michigan, said the data sharing project now involves 34 institutions, including several community hospitals.

The project has also sparked the launch of similar efforts in New York and Tennessee, while Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Virginia have announced they are developing similar plans.

For more information:

  • Accelerating the Pace of Surgical Quality Improvement
  • Surgical complications drop at hospitals that share patient safety data
  • Philadelphia hospital to coordinate data-sharing for pediatric research

A collaborative approach has shown to be an efficient platform for surgical quality improvement. Do you think other states will be able to replicate the success that Michigan has achieved?