Background Surgeon's performance is tracked using patient outcomes databases. We compared data on patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy from 2 large databases with significant institutional overlap to see if either patient characteristics or outcomes were similar enough to accurately compare performance.
Methods Data from 2009 to 2011 were collected from University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) and National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP). UHC and NSQIP collect data from over 200 and 400 medical centers, respectively, with an overlap of 70. Patient demographics, pre-existing medical conditions, operative details, and outcomes were compared.
Results Fifty-six thousand one hundred ninety-seven UHC patients and 56,197 NSQIP patients met criteria. Groups were matched by age, sex, and pre-existing comorbidities. Outcomes for NSQIP and UHC differed, including mortality (.20% NSQIP vs.12% UHC; P <.0001), morbidity (2.0% vs 1.5%; P <.0001), wound infection (.07% vs.33%; P <.0001), pneumonia (.38% vs.75%; P <.0001), urinary tract infections (.62% vs.01%; P <.0001), and length of hospital stay (1.8 ± 7.5 vs 3.8 ± 3.7 days; P =.0004), respectively.
Conclusions Surgical outcomes are significantly different between databases and resulting performance data may be significantly biased. A single unified national database may be required to correct this problem.
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