March 24, 2023 — The American College of Surgeons (ACS), with the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS), has launched a new national quality verification program to help participating hospitals improve outcomes and deliver the best treatment for patients receiving vascular surgical and interventional care in an inpatient setting.
The Vascular Verification Program (Vascular-VP), an ACS Quality Program developed with the Society for Vascular Surgery, leverages the strengths and expertise of the ACS and SVS to establish a program that provides an evidence-driven, standardized pathway for instituting and growing a quality improvement and clinical care infrastructure within a hospital’s vascular program.
“The ACS has the experience and infrastructure for developing surgical quality programs and the SVS has the experience and expertise about vascular surgery,” said Anton N. Sidawy, MD, MPH, FACS, DFSVS, MAMSE, ACS Regent, past president of the SVS, and the Lewis B. Saltz Chair, department of surgery, George Washington University, Washington, DC. “The ACS is what we call the ‘House of Surgery.’ It’s the umbrella organization for all surgical specialties, including vascular surgery. It was very logical for these two outstanding organizations to collaborate and come up with this comprehensive program.”
"Vascular-VP builds upon the ACS’s longstanding commitment to surgical quality. By utilizing the existing infrastructure of the College’s quality programs and working closely with the SVS to address vascular-specific provider and patient needs, we have built an important program that will help all participating hospitals improve the quality of care they provide,” said Patricia L. Turner, MD, MBA, FACS, ACS Executive Director & CEO.
A Vascular-Specific Program
Vascular-VP was developed by experts who recognize the depth and breadth of scope in the areas of vascular care and treatment. Multiple levels of participation (Comprehensive and Verified) ensure the program can be established in a variety of inpatient hospital settings and encompasses all aspects of vascular care at an institution.
“This program is specific to our specialty. It’s not a one-size-fits-all project. It has been designed for vascular surgeons and interventionists to help us improve,” said Michael C. Dalsing, MD, FACS, DFSVS, SVS president, professor emeritus at Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine, and a vascular surgeon for IU Health Physicians.
Vascular-VP provides hospitals with a framework for patient education and informed consent and organizing principles for comprehensive services for patients in the hospital and beyond, including allied health and patient support services. By receiving care at hospitals specifically dedicated to providing high-quality vascular care, vascular patients will benefit from the resources and patient care experience across all phases of care at these hospitals.
Pilot Site Experience
Site visits were conducted in a number of different hospital types and settings during the initial development of Vascular-VP. Data play a key role in quality improvement, and Vascular-VP helped these sites abstract and analyze their data to help them with meaningful and measurable quality improvement activities.
“Being a pilot site was incredibly valuable. It allowed us to evaluate our system, see what we were doing well, and where we needed to improve,” said R. Clement Darling III, MD, FACS, DFSVS, chief of vascular surgery at Albany Medical Center, Albany, New York, and Chair of the inpatient subcommittee of the Vascular Standards Committee that helped develop Vascular-VP. “This program allowed us to demonstrate to the C-suite the value of vascular surgery.”
“This program can truly be transformative throughout the entire hospital. Vascular-VP helps strengthen a hospital’s safety and continuous improvement culture to enhance patient outcomes with greater reliability and standardization of care,” said Clifford Y. Ko, MD, MS, MSHS, FACS, FASCRS, Director, ACS Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care.
The Vascular-VP program standards manual is the fundamental basis for the program. The manual, the Optimal Resources for Vascular Surgery and Interventional Care (2023 Inpatient Standards), addresses elements of vascular surgical care and quality, including the following domains:
- Institutional commitment
- Program scope and governance
- Resources for facilities, equipment, services, and personnel
- Clinical care
- Data abstraction and analysis
- Quality improvement
- Education and research
Access the full Vascular-VP standards manual.
Hospitals interested in becoming a verified center and continuing the quality improvement journey of their vascular service are encouraged to apply online.
More information about Vascular-VP is available on the ACS website.