STS News, Winter 2020 — Following months of extensive testing and feedback, the next generation STS National Database will launch in just a few weeks. Participants in the STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database (ACSD), General Thoracic Surgery Database (GTSD), and Congenital Heart Surgery Database (CHSD) will soon have secure, cloud-based, interactive dashboards, with 24/7/365 access to their data.
“This release is the culmination of a deliberate initiative that began in 2017 to transform the STS National Database and provide our participants with a state-of-the-art, cloud-based platform,” said Felix G. Fernandez, MD, MSc, chair of the STS Workforce on National Databases. “This has been a very thoughtful and thoroughly vetted process that was based on the needs of our participants; it will continue to evolve based on their feedback.”
The platform is powered by the Society's new data warehouse, IQVIA, a leading global provider of advanced technology solutions.
“The transition represents an evolution for all consumers of the STS National Database, especially users and participants,” said Vinay Badhwar, MD, chair of the STS Council on Quality, Research, and Patient Safety. “This is an exciting time for our specialty as we collectively strive to improve our experience, reduce data burden, and save time and resources, while maintaining a unified platform for surgical quality."
One way the user experience will be improved is by immediate feedback about potential errors. For example, data that are out of range will be flagged so that data managers can quickly make corrections. Users also can rapidly view high-level case details such as total cases, readmissions, and unadjusted mortality. Instead of waiting for a static PDF that is hundreds of pages long, participants will be able to easily sort data, conduct targeted searches, and download specific graphs or datasets.
“Sometimes technology is imposed externally and you have to change everything to work with it. That’s the opposite of our approach,” said Jonathan Morris, MD, vice president and chief medical informatics officer, GM Healthcare Solutions, at IQVIA. “We’ve designed these dashboards to work the way that data managers and surgeons do.”
“This is an exciting time for our specialty as we collectively strive to improve our experience, reduce data burden, and save time and resources, while maintaining a unified platform for surgical quality.”
The new Database launch and subsequent updates will be an iterative process, so participants are encouraged to provide feedback at STSDB@sts.org.
“Through engagement with surgeons and data managers, STS will be responsive to the needs of dashboard users,” Dr. Fernandez said. “A major strength of the IQVIA platform is that it provides a robust substrate for easily implementing enhancements to the dashboard reporting and other Database functions as they become available.”
The upcoming release of these dashboards is just the first milestone in the Database’s evolution.
This spring, ACSD participants will be able to access risk-adjusted outcomes data in their dashboards, while GTSD and CHSD participants will be able to do so in July. Also in July, the new specification upgrade for the ACSD will go live, with approximately 30% fewer data entry variables.
Work also is progressing on a project to dramatically expand the Database’s quality improvement and research capabilities. In November, the Society obtained socioeconomic data from the US Census and American Community Survey corresponding to records in the ACSD, GTSD, and CHSD. The data include information on income classification, education level, household crowding, deprivation score, and other details.
In addition, reoperation follow-up data have been derived by internally linking procedure records corresponding to the same patient within the entire Database. The Society also has been working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to obtain National Death Index data.
These supplemental datasets should be available later in 2020 for research inquiries.
Find more details on the next generation Database at sts.org/database.
In addition to the new look, feel, and functionality that you will experience with the next generation STS National Database, the Database logo also has a new look and tagline to match the excitement and significance of these improvements.
The tagline is a simple, powerful, and credible statement that quickly conveys the importance of the Database. Trusted, Transformed, Real-Time: trusted because it’s built on a 30-year legacy of credibility; transformed because the advanced IQVIA platform gives the Database never-before-seen features, including customizable dashboards; and real-time because you will have highly secure, interactive, web-based access to your outcomes data.
To keep the excitement building and ensure that the message about the new Database breaks through the noise, updates about the phased-in launch and user stories will be shared in every way possible, including on our website (sts.org/database), in our newsletters, and on our social media platforms.
We also are producing a video that will tell you more about the dramatic, practice-changing Database improvements coming throughout 2020. The full video will premiere at the STS Annual Meeting in New Orleans, but you can see a preview at sts.org/database.