February 17, 2011

VUMC joins national effort to track neurosurgery outcomes

VUMC joins national effort to track neurosurgery outcomes

Matthew McGirt, M.D.

Matthew McGirt, M.D.

This is the first nationwide effort to collect data on safety, quality and cost-effectiveness in the field of neurosurgery.

Matthew McGirt, M.D., assistant professor of Neurological Surgery, is co-director of the national N2QOD project.

The database is supported by the NeuroPoint Alliance, an arm of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, and will be housed in Vanderbilt's Institute for Medicine and Public Health. Its infrastructure will eventually allow any neurosurgeon, practice group or hospital system in the United States to contribute to and access the data.

“In the big picture, health care is changing and we're past being free to pursue therapy for patients as we see fit,” said Reid Thompson, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery. “We're now in an era of evidence-based medicine, and it is increasingly important to demonstrate the value of what we do, especially in expensive areas like neurosurgery.”

N2QOD is launching a pilot registry with 20 participating practice groups, including Vanderbilt, from academic, private, rural and urban settings.

This pilot will focus on data from low back surgery and aims to demonstrate the feasibility and validity of data collection.

By 2015, N2QOD aims to have half of all practicing neurosurgeons reporting data.

McGirt said the database will be rapidly scalable over the next three years to any field that wants to track data.

“We have generated a model that others can use. Our goal is to make data collection and reflection a regular part of our practice,” McGirt said.

“There is a huge push in medicine right now to increase efficiency without decreasing quality. Only by systematically tracking our outcomes will we be able to demonstrate our performance and define the national benchmarks, and Vanderbilt is leading this effort.”