American College of Surgeons/Society of Thoracic Surgeons Verification Program in General Thoracic Surgery

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Dr. Farhood Farjah

Farhood Farjah, MD, MPH

Dr. Douglas E. Wood

Douglas E. Wood, MD

The University of Washington (UW) Section of Thoracic Surgery is the second program in the nation to participate in the American College of Surgeons/Society of Thoracic Surgeons Verification Program in General Thoracic Surgery. This new program is a quality improvement initiative modelled from similar programs for trauma and bariatric surgery. A key feature of Verification programs is to help surgeons obtain the necessary resources to provide the highest quality care.

Verification involves a set of standards and a site visit every three years. The standards include structures and processes of care as well as a requirement for programs to use benchmarked, risk-adjusted outcomes to drive practice change. Site visitors evaluate prepared documents, interview various stakeholders, and review redacted patient records to determine compliance with standards.

Members of the UW Section of Thoracic Surgery helped develop the Verification for General Thoracic Surgery includes Drs. Douglas E. Wood, The Henry N. Harkins Professor and Chair and Farhood Farjah, Endowed Chair in Lung Cancer Research, Associate Professor of Surgery, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Associate Medical Director, Surgical Outcomes Research Center, partnered with Drs. Lisa Brown (University of California Davis) and Mark Allen (Mayo Clinic) to draft, vet, and revise the standards in close collaboration with Drs. David Hoyt and Clifford Ko from the American College of Surgeons. These standards were vetted by designees from various allied professional societies (e.g. pulmonary medicine, gastroenterology, anesthesiology, etc.) and surgeons working in non-academic settings. Dr. Brown and her team were the first to volunteer as a pilot site. The next step for the Verification program is to pilot the process at non-academic medical centers.

The Verification program determined that the UW Section of Thoracic Surgery is compliant with standards. Opportunities for improvement were identified as were the need for additional resources needed to realize these opportunities. The UW will continue to play an ongoing leadership role in the role out of this new national quality improvement initiative.