STS News, Summer 2020 — The Congenital Heart Surgery Database recently joined its adult cardiac and general thoracic registry counterparts in formally transitioning to the new online, real-time, interactive STS National Database platform.
“This extremely important achievement is the culmination of several years of work and will enhance how our participants interact with their data for the benefit of our patients,” said Felix G. Fernandez, MD, MSc, chair of the STS Workforce on National Databases.
For some practices, the next generation Database not only is transforming how surgeons work with their data managers, but it also is changing the speed at which quality improvement is implemented.
Several new Database enhancements were rolled out on July 1, including direct data entry for the Adult Cardiac Surgery Database (ACSD) and General Thoracic Surgery Database and a software upgrade (version 4.20) for the ACSD. This upgrade was long-awaited because it provides approximately 30% fewer data entry fields, significantly reducing the data entry burden without sacrificing the granularity or robustness of the data. Fields that were not necessary for quality measurement or those not often completed were among the data elements that were removed.
Because the COVID pandemic forced many hospitals to reassign data managers to clinical duties on a temporary basis, the Society has delayed data harvests and postponed the next round of public reporting results until early 2021. In addition, COVID variables were added as data fields, allowing sites to note which patients were COVID positive so that outcomes from these patients could be analyzed separately.
The transformed Database represents a sea change for the thousands of users worldwide. As a result, the Society is doing everything possible to keep data managers, vendors, and participants informed about the new platform’s myriad features. Since early January, more than 50 webinars have been conducted highlighting the new functionality and key elements, gathering user experiences, and answering questions. These webinars are available on the STS YouTube channel, as well as the Society’s website at sts.org/databasewebinars.
In a year that has already seen a monumental transformation of the STS National Database and a global health pandemic, behind-the-scenes work on other Database enhancements continues to move forward.
“Our next steps are to incorporate additional valuable tools to view risk-adjusted outcomes,” said Dr. Fernandez. “We also will be looking to add other sophisticated measures of performance such as cumulative sum (CUSUM) analyses and variable life adjusted display (VLAD) curves.”