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NQF Unveils New Surgery Measures

Improving cardiac surgery outcomes for both adults and children is the goal of 21 quality measures recently endorsed by the National Quality Forum.

The measures spring from two NQF “endorsement projects”: Surgery Endorsement Maintenance 2010, Phase 1, and the National Voluntary Consensus Standards for Pediatric Cardiac Surgery.

“NQF endorses national consensus measures in health care quality that can be used for both accountability and quality improvement,” says Helen Burstin, MD, MPH, NQF’s senior vice president for performance.

The number of surgeries continues to rise. In 2006, there were 99 million surgeries performed in the United States, the NQF says. Fifty-three million of those were done in ambulatory surgery centers.

There were 4,964 Medicare-certified ambulatory surgery centers in the country in 2007, a 64 percent increase since 2000. The NQF says that the new measures apply to a wide variety of care settings.

“These measures are primarily outcome measures that should help to improve the quality of care for cardiac surgery for adults and children,” says Burstin. “They can also be used to benchmark care across providers. The next phase of the surgery project will focus on more cross-cutting surgical processes and outcomes across a wide range of procedures.”

NQF is a not-for-profit organization that works to endorse voluntary national consensus standards for quality improvement. The measures are designed to be used by a range of health care stakeholders interested in quality measurement and public reporting.

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