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New program to offer data driven insights

A new data-driven initiative being implemented at Royal North Shore Hospital has the potential to improve patient outcomes and practice.

At the start of the year, Royal North Shore started submitting data to the American College of Surgeons as part of the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP).

The pilot program includes some specialities this year, hoping to expand to more in the following years.

The internationally recognised, surgeon-led program aims to foster a culture of surgical quality by using data to measure post-operative outcomes including factors such as complication, readmission and mortality. NSQIP has been successfully implemented in other NSW hospitals, including Westmead and Nepean with more hospitals joining the program each year.

The process is being led by Clinical Director of the Division of Surgery and Anaesthetics Dr Michelle Mulligan, Division of Surgery and Anaesthetics Operations Manager Linda Furness, surgeons Dr Anubhav Mittal and Dr Matthew Winter, and clinical reviewer Negar Talaei Zanjani.

"Using data to measure a hospital’s performance is not a new phenomenon, but the exciting part of NSQIP is it uses advanced data analysis techniques to generate actionable reports," Matthew said. "NSQIP uses 30-day patient outcomes, not just the amount of time patients are in hospital for. Our care for our patients extends beyond the hospital, so it is only fair that the data should reflect that."

Anubhav said he believed NSQIP would help inform surgeons of how they can continue to deliver better patient outcomes.

"As surgeons, we’re always looking for tools and methods to improve our practice – and data is at the forefront of that," Anubhav said.



As surgeons, we’re always looking for tools and methods to improve our practice – and data is at the forefront of that.
Dr Anubhav Mittal, RNSH Surgeon

"Data, like what we submit through NSQIP to be analysed, can lead to innovative practice. In the past, data analysis has shown us how complications like surgical site infections or UTIs can be reduced by modifying our methods.

"There’s no telling what life-saving insights we will be given next."

Negar said the process would allow RNSH to measure itself against other hospitals from across the globe in a way that could have very real patient benefits.

"We will be able to see how hospitals with similar patients and cases are performing and measure them against ourselves," she said.

"From there, if there is opportunity for improvement, we can find it and do it – likewise when it comes to helping others. The reason we all do this is to help patients, whether they be at RNSH or on the other side of the world."

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