A Call for a National Transplant Surgical Quality Improvement Program



The severity of illness in transplant patients and the complexity of transplant operations results in significant postoperative morbidity and mortality. Remarkable efforts have been made by transplant physicians to study and improve organ allocation, graft and patient survival, immunosuppression and the long-term management of post-transplant complications. Less effort has been spent studying the actual transplant operation and systems of acute transplant care. The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) has provided a standardized approach to quality improvement and has demonstrated significant potential for a reduction in postoperative morbidity and mortality in other surgical disciplines. Medical centers are under increasing pressure to measure surgical quality and the nexus of transplant surgical quality improvement should not lie in the hands of CMS or JACHO, but rather it should be created and developed within the transplant community. The time has come for a national transplant surgical quality improvement program based on the NSQIP infrastructure. Such a proactive approach toward quality improvement from the transplant community is an excellent investment for patients, providers and health care payers.