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An exterior image of Upstate University Hospital and the Cancer Center.

Upstate achieves top ranking for high risk surgical patient outcomes by National Surgical Quality Improvement Program

Upstate University Hospital has been recognized by the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) as one of 88 ACS NSQIP participating hospitals that have achieved meritorious outcomes for surgical patient care in 2018. As a participant in ACS NSQIP, Upstate tracks outcomes of inpatient and outpatient surgical procedures and collects data that assesses patient safety, which can be used to direct improvement in the quality of surgical care.

The ACS NSQIP recognition program commends a select group of hospitals for achieving a meritorious composite score in either an “all cases” category or a category that includes only “high risk” cases. Upstate has been recognized on the “high risk” meritorious list. Risk-adjusted data from the July 2019 ACS NSQIP Semiannual Report, which presents data from the 2018 calendar year, were used to determine which hospitals demonstrated meritorious outcomes.

“NSQIP is probably the most highly regarded quality assessment program for surgical outcomes in the country,” said Robert Cooney, MD, chair of the department of surgery at Upstate. “Unlike administrative databases, with NSQIP the nurses who collect the data undergo training to insure the data they enter regarding the patient’s medical diagnoses and complications is highly accurate. Their data goes way beyond just the hospital stay.”

Each composite score was determined through a weighted formula combining eight outcomes. The outcome performances related to patient management were in eight clinical areas: mortality, unplanned intubation, ventilator for more than 48 hours, renal failure, cardiac incidents (cardiac arrest and myocardial infarction); respiratory (pneumonia); SSI (surgical site infections-superficial and deep incisional and organ-space SSIs); or urinary tract infection. 

The 88 commended hospitals achieved the distinction based on their outstanding composite quality score across the eight areas listed above. Seventy-two hospitals were recognized on the “high risk” list.

“I think the data tells us something that most people around here already know and that is Upstate is a regional medical center and almost 30 percent of the patients we care for are transferred in from other hospitals,” Cooney said. “We take care of the sickest patients in the region who need surgery and I think this designation shows that we do a good job of doing that.” 

ACS NSQIP is the only nationally validated quality improvement program that measures and enhances the care of surgical patients. This program measures the actual surgical results 30 days postoperatively as well as risk adjusts patient characteristics to compensate for differences among patient populations and acuity levels. The goal of ACS NSQIP is to reduce surgical morbidity (infection or illness related to a surgical procedure) and surgical mortality (death related to a surgical procedure) and to provide a firm foundation for surgeons to apply what is known as the “best scientific evidence” to the practice of surgery. When adverse effects from surgical procedures are reduced and/or eliminated, a reduction in health care costs follows. ACS NSQIP is a major program of the American College of Surgeons and is used in nearly 850 adult and pediatric hospitals.