The Value of Regional Collaboration in the SVS Vascular Quality Initiative®

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The Vascular Quality Initiative® surpassed 150 participating centers in March 2012. As the initiative continues to grow, so does the number of organized regional quality groups, a key component of the VQI®. Participation in a regional group allows for anonymous comparison of outcomes with other nearby centers, but more importantly provides an opportunity to collaborate on regional quality improvement projects. Variation that occurs across centers can be analyzed within a region to identify and implement best practices. Already the VQI has seven groups that meet semi-annually to share and analyze data and to initiate quality improvement projects (see figure), and other regional groups are in the process of forming.

Courtesy of the SVS. Vascular Quality Initiative Centers

Regional quality groups in the VQI are governed by the SVS Patient Safety Organization (SVS PSO). Establishing a regional group requires at least three centers that are willing to participate and benchmark results, as well as bylaws for participation, data entry, and research using non-identifiable data. A regional group can be defined by a geographic area or by a health system. By participating in a regional quality group, centers can initiate regional quality projects and perform analyses of regional data to understand which processes of care lead to best outcomes. This is feasible because of the power of combined data leading to a sufficient number of key outcomes for analysis.

Each regional quality group in the VQI has a representative on the Governing Council and Quality Committee of the SVS PSO. These committees provide medical expertise, statistical analyses, and oversight of quality improvement activities. As a member of a regional group, collaborative quality research is available through an approval mechanism whereby non-identifiable data sets from single or multiple regional groups are available.

The VQI collects pre-operative risk factors, intra-procedural variables, post-procedural outcomes, and one year follow-up data for patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy, carotid artery stenting, open and endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms, infra-inguinal and supra-inguinal bypass, peripheral vascular interventions, thoracic and complex endovascular aortic repair, and hemodialysis access. The VQI is adding advanced reporting functions, as well as an amputation procedure module in the near future. As of March 2012, the VQI has collected data on more than 45,000 procedures, as it is accumulating more than 3,000 procedures monthly.

For more information about the Vascular Quality Initiative and regional quality groups, visit www.vascularqualityinitiative.org.

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