News | March 02, 2011

SCAI Publishes Quality Assessment Standards for Interventional Cardiology

March 2, 2011 – The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) announced recommendations for assessing and improving the quality at percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) programs at cardiac facilities. The statement, which is in the journal Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions, is the first document to offer guidance regarding core measures for quality and assessment in PCI programs.

In an era of health reform, defined measures of quality have become an increasingly relevant need for PCI programs. In 2005, the SCAI, in partnership with the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology (ACC), authored guidelines requiring all PCI facilities to evaluate performance through a continuous quality improvement (CQI) process. The SCAI and ACC have also established a catheterization laboratory accreditation program, Accreditation for Cardiovascular Excellence (ACE), designed to help standardize and track quality measures in PCI programs. ACE requires participating programs to establish a CQI process. The most recent statement better defines the established set of core quality measures and assessments for institutions with CQI programs.

“This statement demonstrates the interventional cardiology community’s dedication to upholding quality standards and continually improving patient care, including what the specific components of a quality improvement program should be,” said Lloyd W. Klein, M.D., FSCAI, professor of medicine at Rush Medical College and lead author of the statement. “It is our responsibility as the physicians who perform interventions to actively participate in developing the tools to measure and report quality outcomes, and to ensure our patients always receive the highest quality care.”

The statement emphasizes the need for every PCI program to establish a cath lab CQI committee dedicated specifically to quality performance and led by an experienced and respected interventional cardiologist. This committee’s task is to measure and assess quality based on three basic principles: the structure of the system; the processes involved for improving results and; the outcomes achieved.

In addition, it highlights multiple recommendations for evaluating PCI quality, including:

• The program must be focused on quality of care. A group of quality indicators should be established by the CQI committee based on suggested guidelines, accreditation bodies and local practice.

• Quality measures should be compared to benchmarks in recent medical literature, and participation in regional or national databases is strongly encouraged.

• A written protocol for PCI review should be developed for each committee. The process should be confidential to promote ongoing education.

• Ongoing peer-review assessment of each individual practitioner, including random case review, to assess their clinical proficiency and outcomes. Practitioners’ outcomes should also be compared against national standards and benchmark databases. The primary goal should be to improve process within the spectrum of care.

“Interventional cardiologists have been at the forefront of quality improvement in medicine for decades as we recognize the process of improving quality for the best in patient care is always evolving and we must evolve with it,” said Larry S. Dean, M.D., FSCAI, SCAI president and director of the UW Medicine Regional Heart Center and professor of Medicine and Surgery at the UW School of Medicine. “This paper is an important reference tool for interventional cardiologists to ensure quality in the cath lab.”

The document part of a two-part statement developed by SCAI to address quality assessment and improvement in interventional cardiology. The second, which is scheduled for publication in the spring of 2011, will address public reporting, risk adjustment and the role of volume as an indicator for quality of care.

For more information:

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