Impact of Surgeon Self-evaluation and Positive Deviance on Postoperative Adverse Events After Non-cardiac Thoracic Surgery

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As an innovative approach to improve quality of surgical care, we combined surgeon self-assessment and anonymized peer comparison with continuous quality improvement seminars using positive deviance (CQI/PD) to identify surgeon(s) with the lowest rates of adverse events (AEs) to guide group practice recommendations. Our objective was to quantify the impact these interventions on postoperative AEs rates after major non-cardiac chest operations. All postoperative AEs after all thoracic operations (n = 1,084, March, 2013 to February, 2016, single-center) were prospectively collected using the thoracic morbidity and mortality system, based on Clavien–Dindo schema. Online software provided surgeons (n = 6) with self-evaluation and peer comparison at all times. In addition, quarterly CQI/PD seminars (n = 8, September, 2013 to December, 2015) focused on common impactful AEs: atrial fibrillation (AFIB), prolonged alveolar air leak (PAAL), and anastomotic leak (AL). Impact was analyzed using univariate statistics 6, 9, and 12 months before and after implementation. We observed reductions of postoperative AEs after CQI/PD: a decrease (all time periods) in AFIB, greatest at 6 months (10.1% vs. 6.7%; p = .36); a decrease (all time periods) in PAAL, greatest at 12 months (18.9% vs. 11.7%; p < .05); and decrease (6 and 9 months) in AL, greatest at 6 months (11.1% vs. 8.3%; p = .82). Improvements in AE rates after individual surgeon self-evaluation and CQI/PD seminars provide encouraging results that merit further investigation.

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