Making quality stick: Optimal Resources for Quality and Safety

Editor’s note: In July, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) released Optimal Resources for Surgical Quality and Safety—a new manual that is intended to serve as a trusted resource for surgical leaders seeking to improve patient care in their institutions and make quality stick. Each month, the Bulletin will highlight some of the salient points made throughout the manual.

Optimal Resources for Surgical Quality and SafetyIn recent years, the public demand for quality medical care has heightened. The ACS has been well-positioned to play a leading role in this movement given its more than 100 years of experience in quality improvement and in applying what Ernest Amory Codman, MD, FACS, described as the end result idea. Optimal Resources for Surgical Quality and Safety is grounded in the same philosophy that has inspired quality for generations of surgeons: set the standards, build the right infrastructure, use the right data, and verify that appropriate care is provided through external review.

Health care policymakers and professionals who have studied quality, safety, and reliability also have increasingly found that the best way to reduce complications and variations in patient care is through a coordinated, physician-led, team-based approach. And while the individual surgeon may no longer make autonomous decisions, he or she remains at the center of the team and ultimately is responsible for the patient’s safety across the continuum of care, starting with the preoperative evaluation and obtaining informed consent and ending postdischarge.

The five phases of surgical care and the surgeon’s responsibilities in each are described in detail in Optimal Resources for Surgical Quality and Safety. The notion that it is the surgeon—working in concert with other professionals on the patient-care team, the patient, and the patient’s family—who must take steps to ensure a positive end result is timeless, and it is the message that resonates consistently throughout this manual.

Be sure to read next month’s overview of Optimal Resources for Surgical Quality and Safety, which will focus on the role of the Surgical Quality Officer and case review and peer review.

Optimal Resources for Surgical Quality and Safety is available for $44.95 per copy for orders of nine copies or fewer and $39.95 for orders of 10 or more copies. The manual also can be purchased on for $44.95 plus shipping and handling.

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