, Volume 32, Issue 6, pp 939-941
Date: 15 Apr 2008

What Is a Surgical Complication?

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Quality assessment programs have been well-established tools in industry for decades. A unique focus on quality assessment significantly contributed to the economic success of Japan in the early 1950s, and this philosophy of steadily improving quality by continuous measurement of specific outcome variables reached the Western world only many years later. In medicine, these principles have been adopted very slowly and are still incomplete in many areas, possibly because of a lack of true competition among health care providers.

Competition remains the most obvious driving force for the development of quality assessment programs. Thus, rising costs associated with constrained resources in most health care systems over the past decade, together with evidence of variations in clinical practice, have triggered growing interest in measuring our work. In the United States, large databases, such as the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) established in 1991 to study surgical p ...