April 1, 2020
3 min read

STS News, Spring 2020 — Participants in the Adult Cardiac Surgery Database (ACSD) and General Thoracic Surgery Database (GTSD) now have access to the new, interactive dashboards and other features that are part of the phase 1 STS National Database rollout.

“It feels very satisfying to have begun releasing this next generation platform,” said Felix G. Fernandez, MD, MSc, chair of the Workforce on National Databases. “Our patients will benefit because our data managers can get accurate data into the system more readily, and the data are presented in real-time, meaningful formats for surgeon participants, allowing them to better use the data for quality improvement and clinical care.”

The highly secure, cloud-based dashboards currently provide access to unadjusted clinical outcomes, case volumes, demographics, patient comorbidities, and treatment details. In addition, real-time data quality reports include interactive links to help troubleshoot problems in submitted data files, and missing variable reports identify field-specific issues that would affect the completeness of a site’s data and subsequent analysis.

The phase 1 rollout of the next generation STS National Database is now under way, and further enhancements and features will become available in the coming months.

The phase 1 release for the ACSD and GTSD followed weeks of intensive beta testing by a dedicated group of data managers, surgeons, STS staff, and representatives from IQVIA, the Society’s new data warehouse. The platform will continue to be modified based on user suggestions and feedback.

In the coming weeks, the transformed Congenital Heart Surgery Database (CHSD) will be available. Deadlines for the spring harvest for the CHSD will be delayed so that participants have ample time to submit their data.

Support Is Available

STS is offering a number of resources to help with the transition to the new Database platform. On the STS National Database Webinars page (sts.org/databasewebinars), users will find a schedule of upcoming webinars with information on how to participate, as well as links to videos and documentation from previous calls. In addition, how-to videos, instructions, and FAQs are available on the Database Transition Resources page (sts.org/databasetransition).

The Society encourages all users to submit additional feedback online at sts.org/form/national-database-feedback.

More Features to Come

The next phases of the Database launch will include access to risk-adjusted outcomes and like group comparisons. A direct, web-based data entry option also is planned.

“This will allow data cleanup to occur at the time of data submission, which will further reduce burden. Programs will have the option to continue entering data through their current vendor or use the web-based option,” Dr. Fernandez said.

ACSD participants will see additional time-saving improvements to data collection with the version 4.20 specification upgrade, which will reduce the number of data fields by approximately 30%. Several changes have been made, including removing fields that were not necessary for quality measurement or were not often completed, using different formatting techniques such as multiple choice, and adjusting parent-child relationships. Data collection forms for version 4.20 are available at sts.org/ACSDdatacollection, and the training manual is scheduled to be posted in mid-May.

STS also is making progress on major data enhancement projects. Socioeconomic data, which include information on income classification, education level, household crowding, deprivation index, and other details, have been linked with records in the ACSD, GTSD, and CHSD using state-of-the-art geocoding methodology. These additional variables will help researchers understand the impact of social determinants on outcomes in cardiothoracic surgery. Work also continues on acquiring longitudinal reoperation and survival data to augment data in these Database components.

Note: STS recommends that all sites collecting data for the STS National Database begin gathering COVID-19 information for patients who underwent surgical procedures on or after January 1, 2020. More information is available at sts.org/COVID-19database.

>The latest information on the next generation Database can be found at sts.org/database.