Development of Quality Indicators: Lessons Learned in Bariatric Surgery

Maggard, Melinda A.; Mcgory, Marcia L.; Ko, Clifford Y.
October 2006
American Surgeon;Oct2006, Vol. 72 Issue 10, p870
Academic Journal
Quality indicators will likely be used in comprehensive surgical quality assessment and improvement programs. Quality indicators are the actions equated with good quality of care. As a case example, bariatric surgery quality indicators were developed using evidence in the literature combined with formal expert opinion validation. Qualitative analysis was performed to identify the critical thematic issues surrounding development of these surgical quality indicators. Researchers identified five major thematic categories during the development process. These included feasibility in medical records (availability, ease of abstraction, and cost), the number of indicators developed (optimal number), the lack of evidence in the literature (weight on expert opinion), structural versus process indicators, and linkage to outcomes (need to demonstrate that adherence to indicators is associated with better outcomes). This project, using bariatric surgery as an example, uncovered important issues that need to be addressed when developing quality assessment and quality improvement programs for evaluating surgical quality. As quality indicators will likely be developed and used increasingly, future projects in this regard will benefit from these lessons.


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