BC Patient Safety & Quality Council

September 30, 2013 | Print This Article Twitter Facebook Email

Local Surgical Teams Among Best Performers in North America

Two British Columbian hospitals have been awarded for their outstanding results in surgical patient care.

Lions Gate Hospital and Victoria General Hospital have both been recognized by the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) for having the best outcomes in a group of nine key surgical measures1. Only 37 out of 374 participating hospitals in North America received the “Meritorious” status.

The ACS NSQIP measures surgical results 30 days after surgeries while adjusting for differences among patient populations and levels of sickness. The program’s goal is to reduce infections, illnesses and deaths related to surgical procedures while helping surgeons apply evidence-based practice. The program is saving lives, preventing adverse events and, ultimately, reducing health care costs.

Ramesh Sahjpaul is delighted because the success at Lions Gate Hospital, where he’s the NSQIP team’s surgeon champion, required improvement from numerous team members that care for patients – from physicians and nurses to physiotherapists and respiratory therapists. Surgical teams have improved how patients with complicated issues are prepared for surgery; they also use the surgical checklist to minimize mistakes and encourage communication.

Surgical team members from Lions Gate Hospital

Surgical team members from Lions Gate Hospital


“Efforts to improve patient safety and outcomes are now bearing fruit,” Sahjpaul said. “It reminds people that we’re on the right track and we have hard evidence to show that we’re doing the right thing.”

At Victoria General Hospital, NSQIP team surgeon champion Johann Cunningham gives credit to the frontline surgical team members who work with patients day and night. Nurses led the charge to improve the surgical unit’s behaviours and culture so that process changes would have a chance to be embedded into routines.

Surgical team members from Victoria General Hospital

Surgical team members from Victoria General Hospital


“Just as you brush your teeth in the morning, you make sure the patient gets the right thing, in the right place, at the right time. Our patients are better off.”

In British Columbia, 24 hospitals have joined the ACS NSQIP with support from the BC Surgical Quality Action Network (SQAN). The network features over 700 members who work and learn together so that they can improve surgical care for patients in BC.

“These accomplishments are incredibly significant,” said Doug Cochrane, the Chair of the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council, which facilitates SQAN. “Lions Gate Hospital and Victoria General Hospital have been involved with NSQIP for a couple of years. This is a tremendous amount of progress in a short period of time and we know other facilities across British Columbia want to learn from their success.”

1. Mortality; unplanned intubation; ventilator > 48 hours; renal failure; DVT (deep vein thrombosis, thrombophlebitis and pulmonary embolism); cardiac incidents (cardiac arrest and myocardial infarction); respiratory (pneumonia); SSI (surgical site infections-superficial and deep incisional and organ-space SSIs); urinary tract infection.

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