September 5, 2017
4 min read

STS News, Summer 2017 -- Surgeons and data managers from 25 Adult Cardiac Surgery Database (ACSD) sites participated this spring in a month-long pilot aimed at developing an online reporting dashboard that would offer interactivity and more detailed analyses of data from the national report PDF than participating sites currently receive.

The Society is making adjustments to the dashboard based on the pilot group’s feedback, and the dashboard is expected to be released to all ACSD participants this fall. General Thoracic Surgery Database and Congenital Heart Surgery Database participants should receive access to the dashboard next year.

Once participants log in, they will see an executive summary showing 3-year overall numbers of procedures, post-procedure length of stay, and unadjusted mortality by procedure for all participating sites. A menu on the left-hand side allows users to drill down into their specific institution’s data, including star ratings, National Quality Forum measures, comorbidities, demographics, operative information, outcomes, postoperative events, and more.

This draft mockup of the new dashboard homepage displays a snapshot of national data.

“It’s a lot easier to navigate than trying to scroll through a PDF,” said pilot tester Gaetano Paone, MD, MHSA, Division Head of Cardiac Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and Chair of the STS Task Force on Quality Initiatives. “For example, if I want to look at our blood transfusion rate for coronary bypass surgery in the current report, I have to find it on, let’s say, page 127; if I then want to see the same data for aortic valves, I might have to scroll through another 70 pages before I get there. With the new dashboard, all I have to do is unclick the CABG box and click the valve box, and the same dataset pops up. That’s an enormous improvement.”

More Frequent Data Updates

Another advantage of the dashboard is the speed with which new data will be incorporated. Site data will be refreshed daily; analytics will be updated once per quarter.

Being able to access data so quickly, rather than waiting for quarterly reports, is a big plus for Mary Barry, Database Coordinator for the ACSD at the University of Michigan, who also participated in the pilot. “I anticipate using the dashboard to more quickly query our data,” she said. “I also like being able to download reports that show the specific Record ID associated with a selected variable.”

Tool for Quality Improvement

The dashboard will make it even easier for participating sites to improve quality and patient outcomes at their institutions.

“I generally know how our division is doing day to day, but there are some specific things I don’t know—Have we been transfusing more patients or having more patients with longer times on the ventilator? The dashboard allows me to quickly assess these variables,” Dr. Paone said. “You also can create aggregate subsets of patients with specific morbidities and see the rate of major complications and operative mortality outcomes that occurred within that group. It’s a much more granular way of assessing where your problem areas might be.”

"It’s a much more granular way of assessing where your problem areas might be."

Gaetano Paone, MD, MHSA

Other pilot testers agreed.

“We like the ability to see the benchmarks easily,” said Amy Geltz, Quality Data Manager at the University of Michigan Health System. “I think if we ever do continuous harvesting at our site, the dashboard would be even more helpful. I also could see us using this dashboard in quality improvement meetings, allowing us to quickly look at certain data points.”

Barry added that the interactivity of the dashboard will help her track ongoing projects.

“I anticipate that I will use it to assist in monitoring work related to a quality project, as well as checking consistency of data abstraction,” she said.

More information on the dashboard will be shared in future issues of STS News and STS National Database News. If you have questions about the dashboard, contact Carole Krohn, STS National Database Manager, Adult Cardiac Surgery, at Carole Krohn or (312) 202-5847.