Background: The formation of the Melbourne Vascular Surgical Association has led to the establishment of a vascular surgical audit programme that commenced in January 1999. This has allowed establishment of a benchmark for quality assurance in vascular surgery in Australia.
Methods: A consultative process allowed widespread adoption of the audit across all public hospital vascular units in Melbourne and the two largest regional centres in Victoria. Data were collected at two points during admission: at operation and at discharge. Risk stratification, using logistic regression and risk-adjusted ratios for adverse events was assessed for comparison of outcomes between units for the first 3 years of data collection. There is regular contact with all participants for data feedback and quality control.
Results: The standard of vascular surgery across Victoria is consistent, and there has been excellent compliance by all academic vascular units. Private practice data are less complete, and only half of the vascular surgeons have participated.
Conclusions: A statewide audit process is feasible and viable. Coordination by the Melbourne Vascular Surgical Association is crucial for its continued success.