“This information is then uploaded to the registry on a quarterly basis.”

Putting Data to Work

Participate in an Orthopedic Registry Join the ‘transparency revolution’ BY ROBERT KURTZ


ealth care consumers are at a disadvantage when it comes to researching their surgical options, says Thomas Wilson, chief executive offi- cer of Monterey Peninsula Surgery Center in Monterey, California. “When people are looking at buy-

ing a car, they are able to conduct an incredible amount of research,” he says. “They look at Consumer Reports for information, research the manu- facturer’s actual cost and resale value, and learn how the vehicle responds in a crash, how it handles and so much more. This helps the buyer make an informed decision.”

When it is time to research total hip replacement surgery, however, which can cost more than a car, none of the comparable information is available, he points out. “You cannot learn about the performance of the surgeon, infec- tion rate or quality of the implant,” he says. “We strongly believe that such information needs to be made public and think ASCs will outperform all

options when that information is made available to the consumer. We might call this the transparency revolution.” Wilson predicts that participation in an orthopedic registry will make this a reality sooner rather than later. Mon- terey Peninsula Surgery Center has participated in a registry for the past several years. They were the first ASC to join the California Joint Replace- ment Registry and now are members of the American Joint Replacement Registry (AJRR). High Pointe Surgery Center in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, another AJRR par- ticipant, got involved with the registry in January 2016. “We are required to collect demographic information, CPT codes, surgical approach, type of proce- dure, start time and total time of proce- dure, surgeon information and implant information, including manufacturer, type of implant and corresponding iden- tifying numbers,” says Diane Lulic, RN, the ASC’s director of regulatory affairs.


Submitting data is only part of the value of participating in a registry, says Wendy Marinkovich, managing director of designation management, national solutions, for Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) in Chicago, Illinois. A registry provides actionable data that can identify a path for improving the quality of patient care, she says. “Registries provide a standardized definition for tracking outcomes and typically provide risk-adjusted results. This information can assist in track- ing patient outcomes and reveal early trends that might indicate a quality issue. In today’s health care landscape, there is a focus on improving quality and increasing patient safety. Bench- marking against other participating centers and surgeons in the registry helps a facility understand its perfor- mance in comparison to others.” Wilson views data from the regis- try as a resource that will help improve his ASC’s ability to provide high-qual- ity care. “We can set appropriate goals and benchmark them. If we learn of organizations outperforming us in an area such as infection or readmission rate, we will contact them and learn about the practices they are using that we should adopt. I would expect other organizations to approach us if our sta- tistics are favorable. That is how we are all going to raise the bar.” Registry participation is an impor- tant part of a number of BCBSA’s national designation programs, Mar- inkovich says. “With the use of stan- dardized definitions and consistent methodology in measurement, bench- marking against others is possible. It provides a mechanism for accurate comparison data.” Participation delivers benefits benchmarking,

beyond says Traci Albers, director of operations for Sur-

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