Using NSQIP Data to Reduce Institutional Postoperative Pneumonia Rates in Non-ICU Patients: A Plan-Do-Study-Act Approach

Daniel M. Alligood, Daniel Albo, Steffen E. Meiler, Sarah MI Cartwright, Allen Kelly, Hongyan Xu, Muhammad Irfan Saeed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) is a program designed to measure and improve surgical care quality. In 2015, the study institution formed a multidisciplinary team to address the poor adult postoperative pneumonia performance (worst decile). Study Design: The study institution is a 450+ bed tertiary care center that performs 12,000+ surgical procedures annually. From January 2016 to December 2019, the institution abstracted surgical cases and assigned postoperative pneumonia as a complication per the NSQIP operations manual. Using a plan-do-study-act approach, a multidisciplinary postoperative pneumonia prevention team implemented initiatives regarding incentive spirometry education, anesthetic optimization, early mobility, and oral care. The team measured the initiatives’ success by analyzing semiannual reports (SAR) provided by the ACS NSQIP and regional adjusted percentile rankings provided by the Georgia Surgical Quality Collaborative (GSQC). Results: The 2015 SAR postoperative pneumonia rate was 4.20% (odds ratio [OR] 3.86, confidence interval [CI] 2.92–5.11). After project initiation, the postoperative pneumonia rates decreased for all NSQIP cases, from 2.51% (OR 2.67, CI 1.89–3.77) in 2016 to 2.08% (OR 2.61, CI 1.82–3.74) in 2017, to 0.85% (OR 1.10, CI 0.69–1.75) in 2018, and then increased slightly to 1.14% (OR 1.27, CI 0.84–1.92) in 2019. The institution's adjusted percentile regional rank of participating regional ACS NSQIP hospitals’ postoperative pneumonia rate improved from 14/14 (July 2015–June 2016) to 6/14 (July 2018–June 2019). Conclusions: The multidisciplinary postoperative pneumonia prevention team successfully decreased the postoperative pneumonia rate, therefore improving surgical patients’ outcomes. Furthermore, this quality improvement project also saved valuable revenue for the hospital.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-202.e5
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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