Looking to the future
The ASMBS has set a goal to decrease the bariatric surgery major complication rate by half by 2017.
"If we are successful in doing that we will not only have the most effective treatment for obesity, but we’ll deliver that for patients more safely than we’re doing now, and that’s a tremendous value for the healthcare system," says Blackstone. "By striving to have this high-quality program, everyone wins: Patients have a better experience and get the weight off with less complications, and the hospital service line offers true value and they also contribute to the ability of the hospital to provide other service line care that might not be so lucrative."
Having access to the BOLD data is going to be critical moving forward because of the direction the healthcare industry is heading, Moran says.
"It’s ultimately going to come down to a pay-for-performance-type model where you’re going to be evaluated based upon your outcomes compared to those of your peers," he says. "It’s probably going to be a preferential push to move folks toward institutions that can provide quality care with really low cost and low complication rates. Ultimately that’s what it’s coming down to and that’s the truth for the majority of medicine and surgery anyway."
And most important, quality metrics will improve outcomes for patients and the health of communities.
"Obesity is the biggest epidemic in the country, and bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment," Blackstone says. "It will make an impact in your community to have an obesity-focused program. If done correctly and within good safety limits, that program can be very cost-effective for the hospital."
This article appears in the February 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.