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Surg Clin North Am. 2007 Aug;87(4):837-52, vi.

Assessing the quality of surgical care.

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Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine and Surgical Service, VAMC--Atlanta, 1670 Clairmont Road (112), Decatur, GA 30033, USA.


Because of better educated patients, more demanding payers, and regulatory agencies, safety and quality have become prominent criteria for evaluating surgical care. Providers are increasingly asked to document these areas, and patients are using this documentation to select surgeons and hospitals. Payers are using the data to direct patients to providers, and potentially to adjust reimbursement rates. Therefore, health care policy makers, health service researchers, and others are aggressively developing and implementing quality indicators for surgical practice. Given the complex interplay of structure, process, and outcomes, assessment of surgical quality presents a daunting task. We must firmly establish the links between these elements to validate current and future metrics, while engendering "buy-in'' on the part of surgeons.

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