Author Affiliation: Veterans Affairs Medical Center, White River Junction, Vt, and Department of Surgery, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH.
Each year a large number of patients die following elective surgery.
In the Medicare population alone, 17,000 patients died in 1995 after undergoing
10 types of elective procedures, such as coronary artery bypass surgery, carotid
endarterectomy, and lung resection.1 Quality
improvement initiatives at the local and regional levels may be important
for reducing mortality at individual hospitals,2,3
but, for many procedures, choosing at which hospitals surgery is performed
may be equally important for improving surgical quality.
Birkmeyer JD. High-Risk Surgery—Follow the Crowd. JAMA. 2000;283(9):1191-1193. doi:10.1001/jama.283.9.1191