ACS, CDC work to avert surgical infections, other adverse outcomes

ACS and CDC leaders at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding. Seated, left to right: Beth Bell, MD, MPH, Director of CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases; Dr. Hoyt; and Denise Cardo, MD, Director of CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion.
Standing: Michael Bell, MD, Deputy Director of CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion; Dr. Ko; Dr. Pollock; and Bruce Hall, MD, PhD, professor of surgery at Washington University, St. Louis, MO.

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have signed a strategic partnership agreement to work on shared goals of reporting, measuring, and preventing surgical site infections (SSIs) and other adverse outcomes among surgical patients. The agreement builds on the initial success of the ACS’ and CDC’s joint development of a coordinated SSI measure. The goal of sustaining quality health care lies at the core of the alliance, as the two organizations will combine their expertise and organizational resources to meet these demands.

The ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®) and the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Division of Health Care Quality Promotion (DHQP) will form a working group and jointly develop and maintain measures of SSIs and infectious and noninfectious complications that affect surgical patients. The work group will build upon the portfolio of SSI measures that the ACS and the CDC developed jointly in 2010 for abdominal hysterectomy and colon operations.

“We welcome this opportunity to expand our progress in improving surgical patient outcomes on a national level by collaborating with the CDC,” said David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, ACS Executive Director. “Partnering with the CDC speaks to our shared commitment to surgical patient safety, preventing complications, and lowering costs.”

“This partnership will help close gaps that exist between direct patient care and public health,” added Daniel Pollock, MD, a medical epidemiologist and the Surveillance Branch Chief in CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. “Bringing clinicians, surveillance experts, and prevention leaders to the same table will help ensure we collect the right data in the right way so that patient safety can be maximized.”

Under the agreement, the ACS and the CDC will continue to develop quality of care measures, foster greater use of electronic health record systems for quality measurement purposes, exchange data, and conduct joint analyses and reports using data collected through ACS NSQIP and the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network.

“It’s clear that our national health system is seeking better ways to measure quality care. Better data makes it possible because it creates more opportunities to improve the care hospitals and providers offer their patients,” said Clifford Y. Ko, MD, FACS, Director of the ACS Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care, which administers ACS NSQIP. “The CDC has tremendous experience with their quality programs, and through the ACS, hospitals participating in ACS NSQIP have already shown significant improvement in patient mortality and morbidity and are preventing 250 complications per hospital, per year.”

The announcement of the ACS-CDC collaboration followed the National Quality Forum’s (NQF) endorsement of two outcomes-based measures from ACS NSQIP. The two measures, surgical site infection and urinary tract infection, were developed by the ACS with input from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and CDC as possible national outcome measures that could be adopted by CMS as early as 2015. Five ACS NSQIP outcomes-based measures are now endorsed by NQF, including elderly surgery outcomes, colectomy outcomes, and lower-extremity vascular bypass outcomes.

Go to for more information on the NHSN, and go to to view the ACS NSQIP website.

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