Michigan Data Sharing Project Boosts Patient Safety, Study Finds

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A data sharing project among Michigan hospitals helped curb costs and reduce surgical complications by nearly 10%, according to a study published in the Archives of Surgery, Bloomberg reports (Wechsler, Bloomberg, 10/18).

Data Sharing Project

The project, called the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative, initially involved a group of 16 hospitals led by the University of Michigan Health System. The participating hospitals collected data and shared information on practices that helped keep surgical patients safe.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan supported the project by reimbursing hospitals to participate in the collaborative and covering the cost of technology needed to analyze the data.

Hospitals could share information voluntarily, and individual hospital results were not reported to BCBS (Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 10/19).

Study Methodology

The study included data on more than 35,000 Michigan patients, focusing on general and vascular surgeries performed between April 2005 and December 2007.

Researchers compared complications that occurred during the early portion of the study period with complications that occurred after April 2007, by which time the data sharing project was expected to begin showing results.

Study Findings

The study found that the percentage of patients who experienced post-surgery complications dropped from 10.7% before the data sharing project took effect to 9.7% afterward.

During the same time period, data from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program showed no change in surgical complication rates among 280,000 patients who received treatment at 126 non-Michigan hospitals, according to the study.

Researchers also found that the Michigan collaborative helped the 16 participating institutions reduce spending by about $13 million on cases of ventilator-associated pneumonia. According to the study, the data sharing project was most successful in reducing post-surgery rates of:

  • Blood infections;
  • Cardiac arrest;
  • Prolonged ventilator use; and
  • Septic shock.

Scaling Up

David Share -- executive medical director for health care quality at BCBS of Michigan -- said the data sharing project now involves 34 institutions, including numerous community hospitals. He added that BCBS reimburses participating hospitals for reviewing all patient records, not just records of BCBS members (Bloomberg, 10/18).

Michigan's data sharing project has sparked the launch of similar efforts in New York and Tennessee.  In addition, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Virginia are developing plans for such efforts (Healthcare IT News, 10/19).


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