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Providing feedback on your surgery experience

Information for consumers

What is the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program?

Originally developed in the United States of America, the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program allows hospitals to pinpoint where they can improve surgical care for their patients. They do this by comparing the quality of their care and the outcomes of their surgical patients against similar hospitals around the world, using this information to design projects to improve their service.

Providing feedback on your surgery experience

How does the program work?

The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program aims to help staff providing your care to track and understand your surgical outcomes, with the hope to improve their practices if needed.

Every year the hospital collects anonymous information from at least 1680 surgical patients, and compares their outcomes and complications against similar hospitals with similar patients. The data collected includes details such as:

  • your date of birth, height, weight, smoking status and sex
  • information about your surgical procedure
  • medications you are taking and any conditions you have been diagnosed with
  • your health outcomes after surgery, including issues like infections, blood clots, pneumonia or ongoing pain
  • results of any blood tests or medical images such as CT scans or x-rays.

Information about patients, their surgery and their health outcomes are recorded, compared and reported back to the hospital.

The analysis of this information provides helps surgeons and hospitals better understand their quality of care. Hospitals can also use the information to design projects to improve specific areas of care, based on how they are performing compared to other hospitals.

For patients, this results in better health outcomes and shorter hospital stays.

What’s happening in NSW?

NSW Health is committed to improving the quality and safety of surgical care delivered to patients, and started participating in the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program in 2015.

At the moment, 16 public hospitals in NSW are participating, with more joining each year.  These hospitals are:

  • Nepean Hospital
  • Westmead Hospital
  • Port Macquarie Hospital
  • Coffs Harbour Hospital
  • Prince of Wales Hospital
  • Gosford Hospital
  • The Children’s Hospital at Westmead
  • Sydney Children’s Hospital
  • John Hunter Hospital
  • Royal North Shore Hospital
  • Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
  • Concord Hospital
  • Liverpool Hospital
  • Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital
  • Wollongong Hospital
  • Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital
  • St Vincent’s Hospital.

Some hospitals in Queensland and Victoria also participate in the program. Across the world, hundreds of other hospitals participate, including from the United States of America (USA), Canada and the United Kingdom (UK).

See the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program website for a full list of participating hospitals.

How do I participate in the program?

Each hospital randomly selects a number of patients to participate in the program. This means they will review your medical records and call you on the phone to talk about your surgical journey. When answering these questions, it’s important to provide as much detail as you can.

During the call, you will be asked:

  • Have you had any issues or complications associated with your surgery since leaving hospital? This might include any infections, blood clots or ongoing pain.
  • Did you need to see your surgeon or another health professional for further advice associated with your surgery?
  • Did you need to attend Emergency Department or stay overnight at any hospital since your surgery?
  • Have you had any other surgeries associated with your original surgery?

Can I opt out?

You don’t have to participate in the program and can ask not to have your information collected when you receive the phone call.

However, if you do choose to participate, the information is anonymous and your name is never recorded.

What evidence is there for the program?

A number of scientific papers have been published about the benefits of the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program. A summary of these papers can be accessed here.

Based on these papers, the benefits of the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program have been shown to include:

  • increased patient safety and quality of care
  • decreased risk of harm to patients
  • increased patient satisfaction with their care
  • ability to provide constructive feedback to organisation
  • hospital staff have the skills and tools to make positive changes in the hospital

In NSW, hospitals have designed projects to reduce urinary tract infections, pneumonia, surgical site infections and unexpected returns to hospital and blood clots.

Thank you for your interest and participation in this exciting quality improvement initiative, we look forward to hearing about your surgery experience!

Patient information sheet

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