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Plastic Surgery International
Volume 2013, Article ID 671786, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/671786
Review Article

Investing in a Surgical Outcomes Auditing System

Research and Outcomes Department, Operation Smile, Inc., Norfolk, VA 23509, USA

Received 31 August 2012; Accepted 19 October 2012

Academic Editor: Nivaldo Alonso

Copyright © 2013 Luis Bermudez et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background. Humanitarian surgical organizations consider both quantity of patients receiving care and quality of the care provided as a measure of success. However, organizational efficacy is often judged by the percent of resources spent towards direct intervention/surgery, which may discourage investment in an outcomes monitoring system. Operation Smile's established Global Standards of Care mandate minimum patient followup and quality of care. Purpose. To determine whether investment of resources in an outcomes monitoring system is necessary and effectively measures success. Methods. This paper analyzes the quantity and completeness of data collected over the past four years and compares it against changes in personnel and resources assigned to the program. Operation Smile began investing in multiple resources to obtain the missing data necessary to potentially implement a global Surgical Outcomes Auditing System. Existing personnel resources were restructured to focus on postoperative program implementation, data acquisition and compilation, and training materials used to educate local foundation and international employees. Results. An increase in the number of postoperative forms and amount of data being submitted to headquarters occurred. Conclusions. Humanitarian surgical organizations would benefit from investment in a surgical outcomes monitoring system in order to demonstrate success and to ameliorate quality of care.