Online Tool Offers Personalized Estimates of Surgical Risks | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Online Tool Offers Personalized Estimates of Surgical Risks

August 20, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

A new tool developed by the American College of Surgeons has been designed to quickly and easily estimate patient-specific postoperative complication risks for almost all operations, according to research findings in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

For the study, which will appear in the journal later this year, lead author Karl Bilimoria, M.D., director of the Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center at Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues used highly detailed and accurate ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQUIP) data collected from nearly 400 hospitals and 1.4 million patients to develop a universal surgical risk calculator that covers more than 1,500 unique surgical procedures across multiple specialties. The authors leveraged the highly accurate outcomes data collected by ACS NSQIP to create the Surgical Risk Calculator, which allows surgeons to quickly enter a total of 22 preoperative patient risk factors about their patients.

Next, the risk calculator estimates the potential risks of mortality and eight important postoperative complications and displays these risks in comparison to “an average patient’s risks.” The authors also performed tests to ensure the validity of the risk estimates provided by the Surgical Risk Calculator.

The investigators reported that the ACS NSQIP Surgical Risk Calculator yielded excellent prediction results for death, overall complication, and serious complication rates, as well as six additional postoperative complications: pneumonia, heart problem, surgical site infection, urinary tract infection, blood clot, and kidney failure. In addition, the Surgical Risk Calculator estimates a customized length of hospital stay for the patient.

As there are hard-to-measure factors that may increase a patient’s risk of postoperative complications, the web-based risk calculator includes a Surgeon Adjustment Score that allows a surgeon to increase the risk of an operation based on his or her subjective assessment of a patient. This feature enables surgeons to better counsel patients using both the modeled estimate along with the surgeon’s experience and evaluation of the patient.

“Predicting postoperative risks, and identifying patients at a higher risk of complications, has traditionally been based on anecdotal experience of the individual surgeon or small studies from other institutions,” Dr. Bilimoria said in a statement. “Importantly, these risk estimates have been generic and not specific to an individual patient’s risk factors. To have truly informed consent and shared decision making with a patient, we need the ability to provide customized, personal risk estimates for patients undergoing any operation.”

Topics

News

NewYork-Presbyterian, Walgreens Partner on Telemedicine Initiative

NewYork-Presbyterian and Walgreens are collaborating to bring expanded access to NewYork-Presbyterian’s healthcare through new telemedicine services, the two organizations announced this week.

ONC Releases Patient Demographic Data Quality Framework

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) developed a framework to help health systems, large practices, health information exchanges and payers to improve their patient demographic data quality.

AMIA, Pew Urge Congress to Ensure ONC has Funding to Implement Cures Provisions

The Pew Charitable Trusts and the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) have sent a letter to congressional appropriators urging them to ensure that ONC has adequate funding to implement certain 21st Century Cures Act provisions.

Former Michigan Governor to Serve as Chair of DRIVE Health

Former Michigan Governor John Engler will serve as chair of the DRIVE Health Initiative, a campaign aimed at accelerating the U.S. health system's transition to value-based care.

NJ Medical Group Launches Statewide HIE, OneHealth New Jersey

The Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) recently launched OneHealth New Jersey, a statewide health information exchange (HIE) that is now live.

Survey: 70% of Providers Using Off-Premises Computing for Some Applications

A survey conducted by KLAS Research found that 70 percent of healthcare organizations have moved at least some applications or IT infrastructure off-premises.