AT SGS 2016

INDIAN WELLS, CALIF. (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – Surgeons with fellowship training in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery were significantly more likely to perform proposed quality measures at the time of hysterectomy for pelvic organ prolapse, compared with those who lack such training, a single-center study showed.

“The Physician Quality Reporting System was instituted as part of recent health care reform, with the aim of improving the reporting of quality measures, with the overall goal of improving the quality of care provided to patients throughout all areas of medicine,” Dr. Emily Adams-Piper said at the annual scientific meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons. “While there are many types of quality measures, including outcome measures and patient satisfaction measures, process measures may be the most directly applicable for the practicing clinician, because they provide recommended actions during specific patient encounters that can guide practice.”

Dr. Adams-Piper, a resident physician in the division of urogynecology at the University of California, Irvine, and her associates set out to investigate the use of proposed quality measures at the time of hysterectomy for pelvic organ prolapse (POP) among women receiving care from Southern California Permanente Medical Group, a large HMO.

They wanted to know if training background affected the rate of performance of four different quality measures related to hysterectomy for POP: offering conservative treatment prior to the surgical treatment of POP, quantitative assessment of POP with either a Baden-Walker or a POP-Q exam, apical support procedure performed at the time of hysterectomy for prolapse, and performance of intraoperative cystoscopy.

Patients who underwent hysterectomy for POP in 2008 were eligible for the study. The researchers reviewed electronic medical records for clinical and demographic data and categorized surgeons by their level of training.

“They were considered fellowship trained if they had pursued additional formal subspecialty training in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery,” Dr. Adams-Piper explained. “Surgeons were considered grandfathered if they subsequently took the FPMRS [Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery] boards when they became available in 2013. Surgeons were considered generalist if they fit into neither of these two categories and completed a residency in ob.gyn.”

Chi-squared tests were used to compare demographics and performance of the proposed quality measures. Of the 662 hysterectomies performed in 2008, 328 were included in the final analysis. The mean patient age was 60 years, the mean parity was 2.9, and the mean body mass index was 27.9 kg/m2.

Overall performance of the four proposed quality measures was high, ranging from 82%-87%. More than half of quality assessments (58%) were performed with the POP-Q exam, while the majority of apical support procedures were uterosacral ligament vault suspensions (67%), followed by sacrocolpopexy (18%), McCall culdoplasty (12%), and sacrospinous ligament fixation (3%).

When categorized by training, fellowship-trained surgeons performed 133 hysterectomies, “grandfathered” surgeons performed 55, and generalist gynecologic surgeons performed 140. Fellowship-trained surgeons performed each of the four proposed quality measures more often than did grandfathered surgeons, who performed them more often than generalist gynecologic surgeons did.

Specifically, conservative treatment was offered by 94% of fellowship-trained surgeons, 87% of grandfathered surgeons, and 76% of generalist gynecologic surgeons (P = .0002). Qualitative preoperative assessment of POP was performed by 99% of fellowship-trained surgeons, 93% of grandfathered surgeons, and 73% of generalist gynecologic surgeons (three-way comparison reached statistical significance, with a P less than .0001).

Apical repair was performed by 96% of fellowship-trained surgeons, 82% of grandfathered surgeons, and 69% of generalist gynecologic surgeons (P less than .0001). Finally, cystoscopy was performed by 98% of fellowship-trained surgeons, 91% of grandfathered surgeons, and 72% of generalist gynecologic surgeons (P less than .0001).

When the researchers evaluated the cumulative performance of all measures in the same patient, fellowship-trained surgeons had the highest rates (89%, compared with 62% of grandfathered surgeons, and 39% of generalist gynecologic surgeons; P less than .0001).

“When we looked at the patient characteristics and their distribution across the surgeon training backgrounds, we found no significant differences in the age, BMI, gravidity, or parity of the subjects that underwent surgeries with the three groups,” Dr. Adams-Piper said.

She acknowledged certain limitations of the study, including the fact that it reflects clinical practice in a single health care delivery system, it relied on prior documentation, and it evaluated data from 2008.

“From this study we can conclude that perioperative practice patterns differ by surgeon training background,” she said. “However, in order for the proposed quality measures to be clinically meaningful, they must be correlated with patient-centered outcomes.”

Dr. Adams-Piper reported having no financial disclosures. The meeting was jointly sponsored by the American College of Surgeons.


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