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The Virginia Cardiac Services Quality Initiative

Started in in 1996, VCSQI is a voluntary consortium that has grown to include 18 hospitals, 14 cardiac surgical practices, and in 2016 expanded to include the cardiology specialty with the goal of coordinating care and forming a statewide “Heart Team” approach to cardiac care. VCSQI members represent over 99 percent of all open-heart and 50 percent of interventional procedures in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  VCSQI’s goal is to improve quality of care and contain costs in heart procedure programs of all sizes.

VCSQI has brought surgeons, cardiologists, data managers, and hospital administrators together to compare data, share best practices, perform outcomes analyses, and implement process improvements. In 2000, VCSQI collaborated with Anthem/Wellpoint and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) to lead reimbursement reform initiatives. In 2002, VCSQI collaborated with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to design a demonstration on global (episode of surgical care) pricing. In 2005, VCSQI helped develop quality measures in cardiac surgery for the National Quality Forum (NQF). In these ways and via subsequent research projects VCSQI has implemented numerous best practice protocols with traceable results based on statewide clinical data, contributing to the founding literature of national clinical initiatives for improving patient safety and cardiac surgical quality of care.

The VCSQI database contains approximately 115,000 records from 2001 through 2016, with new records submitted every quarter.  Clinical data from the STS Adult Cardiac Surgery database is matched with financial data from standardized hospital billing records to estimate costs.  The VCSQI report library includes procedure volume, patient demographics, risk factors, post-operative complications, operative mortality, valve devices, resource use, and cost estimates.  VCSQI places emphasis on high-risk patients and high-cost procedures to uncover system-wide performance variations in operative mortality, post-operative complications, and resource use.

 

VCSQI Mission & Goal

The mission of VCSQI is to improve heart care quality, the patient experience and reduce costs.

VCSQI’s goal is to improve clinical quality in all cardiac service programs through outcomes analysis and process improvements. Additionally, VCSQI’s clinical/financial database helps reduce costs through reductions in complications and unnecessary resource utilization. The organization’s two main objectives are improving care by improving communication.

 

Improve Quality, Patient Care and Cost

VCSQI members collaborate to analyze hospital processes, work to identify opportunities for improvement and help implement relevant best practice protocols. Members believe that by improving quality and patient care costs can be contained. Through the use of its clinical/financial database VCSQI improves the quality of care for cardiology and cardiac surgery patients, reduces complications, better coordinates care across both specialties to improve efficiencies in cardiac services care and ultimately reduces costs.

Enhance Communication

VCSQI is positioned as a reliable statewide source of information. VCSQI serves as the interface to communicate process of care information between member sites, eliminates decision making in silos and connects clinical teams. It augments its regional peer-to- peer interactions with more structured educational media and remote/online technologies.

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