TUESDAY, Feb. 3, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Report cards on the quality of surgical care provided by hospitals don't appear to benefit Medicare patients, a new study finds.
The report cards have been issued under the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) since the early 2000s. Trained nurses at participating hospitals record and submit data about every operation.
The goal is to prompt hospitals to make improvements in areas where they perform poorly. But this study found this approach is doing little to help older patients.
Researchers analyzed data from 1.2 million Medicare patients who had one of 11 major types of surgery over a decade. The operations were performed at more than 250 hospitals receiving report cards and more than 500 hospitals not involved in the program.
There was no differences in surgical safety or cost savings between the two groups of hospitals, according to the study.
Results were published in the Feb. 3 issue of JAMA.
The findings don't mean that such programs aren't worthwhile. But, the study does point to the need for hospitals to put the report card information they receive to better use, according to the researchers.
"Although ACS-NSQIP hospitals are improving over time, so are other non-participating hospitals," study lead author Dr. Nicholas Osborne, a vascular surgeon at the University of Michigan Health System's Cardiovascular Center, said in a university news release.
"Knowing where you perform poorly is the important first step. But the next leap from measuring outcomes to improving outcomes is much more difficult," Osborne added.
The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more on surgery.
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