September 6, 2017
3 min read

STS News, Winter 2017 -- The Society is rolling out several new features and upgrades that will make it easier for STS National Database participants to submit files, access interactive progress reports, and include information on evolving procedures.

One new feature is continuous data harvesting. Previously, data files for a particular harvest could be submitted only within a designated 3-week timeframe. Any data errors had to be cleaned up within that same period. At the conclusion of those 3 weeks, sites would sign off on their data files before analysis reports were created.

Soon, Adult Cardiac Surgery Database (ACSD) participants will be able to submit data files at any time throughout the year, receive data quality reports after each submission, and clean up their data in smaller batches.

“Continuous harvesting will allow Database participants and data managers to submit data in close to real time, which may be a less labor-intensive process and may increase the ease of capturing complete and accurate data,” said Jeffrey P. Jacobs, MD, Chair of the STS Workforce on National Databases. 

There still will be a “lockdown” four times per year, when submissions will close and analysis reports will be generated based on the current data submitted. Instead of sites needing to sign off on their data files, sites that do not want their data included in the analysis at that time will need to opt out.

ACSD sites can start submitting data on January 9 under this new continuous harvesting protocol, and the first lockdown will be from February 24 through March 6. Reports based on those data will be available by late April.

The spring 2017 harvests for the General Thoracic Surgery Database (GTSD) and Congenital Heart Surgery Database (CHSD) will be conducted via the traditional 3-week data submission period, and continuous harvesting will begin this summer for those two Databases. View the complete data submission schedule for 2017.

Reporting Dashboard on the Horizon

Also in the works is a web-based reporting dashboard that will give sites more flexibility over how they view their feedback reports.

Instead of receiving a static PDF report, participants will be provided access to a secure online dashboard where they can drill down into specific procedures. Eventually, individual surgeons will be able to review their own private reports.

“These interactive features will allow participants to examine unique aspects of the data not currently available in feedback reports,” said Dr. Jacobs. “In the past, participants were required to submit Minor Data Requests to get access to individualized institutional data benchmarked to national aggregate data. Soon, participants will have real-time access to such data.”

With guidance from STS staff and surgeon leaders, professionals from the Duke Clinical Research Institute are working to make the reporting dashboard available for ACSD participants by the third quarter of 2017 and for GTSD and CHSD participants in 2018.

"These interactive features will allow participants to examine unique aspects of the data not currently available in feedback reports."

Jeffrey P. Jacobs, MD

ACSD Spec Upgrade Expands Aortic Fields

On July 1, version 2.9 of the ACSD will go into effect, and an extensive section on aortic and aortic root procedures will be included in the Data Collection Form.

“These fields are really important as we expand treatment options for our patients. Some of my colleagues started changing their operative notes a few months ago so that their data managers could start adding the information as soon as possible,” said STS President Joseph E. Bavaria, MD, who was a strong promoter of the expanded aortic fields. “People are very excited about this upgrade.”

The new section includes detailed fields on primary indication, specific interventions (such as arch procedures, descending thoracic aorta or thoracoabdominal procedures, and endovascular procedures), and inserted devices. These new elements may help improve risk stratification and further harmonization with other registries.

“The art and science of analyzing medical and surgical outcomes, as well as the assessment and improvement of medical and surgical quality, continue to evolve; these updates confirm the Society’s commitment to maintaining the STS National Database as the premier platform in the world to facilitate these objectives,” Dr. Jacobs added.