Palo Alto Medical Foundation Newsroom

PAMF Surgeons Join the Vascular Quality Initiative

Outcomes Reporting Improves Vascular Health Care

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) reached a significant program milestone with their participation in the Vascular Quality Initiative® (VQI) of the Society for Vascular Surgery® (SVS), a national registry and outcomes reporting system designed to improve vascular health care.

As of March 1, 2013, all vascular surgical procedures at PAMF are entered into a national registry to track risk adjusted quality outcomes. The registry will include patients being treated at PAMF centers in Burlingame, Mountain View, Palo Alto and Santa Cruz, Calif. 

Tej Singh, M.D.

“This is the first dedicated peripheral vascular registry to start at PAMF,” said Tej Singh, M.D., chief of vascular surgery and director of the Robert L. Mitchell Vascular Center at PAMF’s Mountain View Center. “The timing could not be better as cost and quality will be driving much of America’s health care reform and reimbursement.”

The VQI registry collects and analyzes data from individual providers, hospitals and regional quality improvement groups. VQI collects:

  • pre-operative risk factors
  • intra-procedural variables
  • post-procedural outcomes
  • one-year follow-up data

VQI uses the collected data to assess quality of care and determine best practices in vascular health care under the auspices of the SVS Patient Safety Organization (SVS PSO). The SVS PSO provides oversight of data sharing arrangements, key outcome and quality measure analyses, and dissemination of information to participating providers. 

“This is a major step forward and demonstrates our commitment to quality, reduced costs and optimal patient outcomes for our vascular patients,” said Dr. Singh. “For the last six years, our vascular practice has tracked our own quality metrics and data informally. Participating in this national registry allows us to measure that we are providing the best, cost-effective care with each patient encounter. We can also track and compare our results locally, regionally and nationally so we can set our vascular care program apart from others.”

The first data released from the registry showed that PAMF vascular patients’ stroke rate from carotid endarterectomy was less than one percent, already below the national average of three percent. Additional quality metrics will be shared as they become available from VQI’s national registry.

Dirk Baumann, M.D.

Dirk Baumann, M.D., a vascular surgeon at PAMF’s Burlingame Center and the new Mills-Peninsula Medical Center, and his vascular surgery colleagues know the value of outcomes measurement, because they have been part of a different national surgical quality program for nearly eight years. During this time, they learned about measuring and characterizing outcomes and identifying variables associated with these improved outcomes. 

“We examined post surgical infections with colon and bowel surgeries,” said Dr. Baumann. “We looked at different pre-operative procedures and antibiotic use. Then, using the data, we were able to develop a pre-op protocol to lower infections. This protocol is now being used by PAMF surgeons with positive results for our patients.

“One of the big things coming out of health care reform and registries like the VQI is the reduction in variation in the way that surgeons treat different vascular issues across regions and the country. In many areas of medicine, there are not sufficient data to prove the need or benefit of certain types of treatment. This volume of data helps us make better informed recommendations for the improvements to care for vascular problems.”

“Accurate clinical data is critical to continuous improvement in the quality of our service,” said PAMF CEO Richard Slavin M.D. “This registry will enable comparison of the performance of our vascular surgical outcomes with national norms. Our patients should expect that we are superb in our measured outcomes as we fulfill our commitment to provide an exceptional experience for every patient, every time.”