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The More the Better:  New Study Finds Many Hospitals Do Not Meet Minimum Number of Surgeries Performed

surgery experience

Standard surgical advice is to look for a surgeon with experience in the specific procedure you need.  A new survey finds many hospitals do not have the experience, or minimum volume standard, needed for the procedures they offer.

What is Minimum Volume Standard?

As noted in a report from The Leapfrog Group, “patients who have certain high-risk surgeries performed at a hospital and by a surgeon with significant, ongoing experience with that procedure have better outcomes than patients who have their surgery done at a lower-volume hospital or by a surgeon with less experience.”  This basically restates what we pointed out above—a well-experienced surgeon who performs a procedure on a routine basis could provide better outcomes than a less-experienced surgeon, or one who does not perform a procedure often.

The same goes for hospitals.  The more experience a facility has supporting certain procedures on a routine basis, the better able that institution could be to perform the procedure, or counteract complications that could arise.

The Leapfrog Group is a non-profit watchdog group of industry experts aimed at saving lives and reducing patient harm throughout the United States.  The organization conducts a voluntary survey of approximately 2,000 US hospitals.  The survey, a transparent, “evidence-based tool” offers a look at hospital performance on an annual basis.

In 2018, the Leapfrog Group began gathering and reporting on minimum volume standards. Relying on peer-reviewed research and their own Surgery Expert Panel, the organization identified a group of high-risk procedures and established a minimum volume standard for a surgeon, and a hospital.  The minimum volume standard is a minimum experience benchmark for provider and hospital to perform the procedure.

The eight defined procedures include:

  1. Carotid Endarterectomy
  2. Bariatric Surgery for Weight Loss
  3. Lung Resection for Cancer
  4. Esophageal Resection for Cancer
  5. Rectal Cancer Surgery
  6. Open Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair
  7. Pancreatic Resection for Cancer
  8. Mitral Valve Repair and Replacement

As noted in the report on the results of the 2018 survey, “the vast majority of hospitals do not meet Leapfrog’s minimum hospital or surgeon volume standards.”  The report continues, “Given the variation in patient outcomes between higher-volume and lower-volume hospitals, the importance of patients using Leapfrog results to select a hospital for these high-risk procedures cannot be overstated.”

Even as the organization notes that few hospitals meet minimum volume standards for safety, being aware of the data can help.  The Leapfrog Group urges consumers to review the report to help them make smart decisions when they are faced with serious choices.  Bottom line—experience counts when your health is at stake.

The same adage applies to legal representation.  If you are injured by medical error, look for a law firm with successful experience pursuing hospitals and surgeons who cause patient harm.  If you or a family member suffer medical negligence, speak with one of our surgical error lawyers in Baltimore, we can help.

We Fight for Compensation on Your Behalf

The law firm of Schochor, Federico and Staton, P.A. delivers experienced, skilled legal services to individuals and families who suffer medical malpractice.  Contact us today or call 410-234-1000 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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