Using a systems approach to solve practice problems in surgery

Surgeons will increasingly want to assume leadership roles in directing the changes that are now inevitable in surgical practice. Understanding systems, their interactions, and strategies to make them more effective will be critical to optimize surgeons’ practices and patient care. Whether the issue is changing scheduling to optimize patient flow in the office, enhancing use of operating rooms at the hospital, or monitoring the rate of incomplete excision of breast lesions, surgeons need the skills to identify, measure, and track whatever is important to their practices and their patients. Fortunately, simple tools are available.

Measure Twice, Cut Once! Optimizing Surgical Systems of Care is a new course designed by surgeons, for surgeons, and it will be offered for the first time at the American College of Surgeons’ 2013 Clinical Congress in Washington, DC. Participants will learn how to identify areas of care they want to monitor, collect the relevant data needed to evaluate performance and outcomes, interpret the results of appropriate data analyses, identify opportunities for improvement, and implement timely and effective changes.

Peter J. Fabri, MD, PhD, FACS, will chair the course, which will be offered from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Tuesday, October 8, in Room 146B of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The activities will be practical, realistic, and timely. An overview of health systems engineering will be provided, plus hands-on experience with Advanced Excel, practical applications of easily understood statistics, process control methodology, and failure mode and effects analysis—all tools that are learnable, doable, and effective in real practice. Measure Twice, Cut Once! is designed for surgeons in clinical practice and requires no prior analytical experience. Only a comfort level with basic use of Microsoft Excel is needed. Acquire the skills to make your practice work better for you and your patients.

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