Chinook Regional Hospital Surgery Program Earns International Commendation

LETHBRIDGE – Chinook Regional Hospital is one of 83 hospitals worldwide — and the only hospital in Alberta — to be commended by the American College of Surgeons for exemplary surgical outcomes.

The college’s National Surgical Quality Improvement Program selected the local Alberta Health Services (AHS) facility from more than 800 participating hospitals around the world.

“Residents of southern Alberta can be proud of the world-class surgical care they receive in Lethbridge,” Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said. “This well-deserved honour reflects the outstanding work of the Chinook Regional Hospital staff and their commitment to excellence in healthcare. Thanks to their exceptional work, Albertans are receiving the right care, in the right place, at the right time.”

“We are tremendously grateful to our nurses, hospital staff, physicians and surgeons for the great job they do in going above and beyond to serve patients, and provide safe, timely care,” adds Dr. Jack Regehr, Zone Medical Director for AHS South Zone. “This program and award demonstrates that great care is safe, efficient and cost-effective as well. We appreciate our patients and staff putting up with constant change as we continue to strive to reach ever higher standards of care.”

About 10,000 surgeries, including day surgeries, are performed annually at Chinook Regional Hospital, which joined the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program in 2014.

The program’s goal is to reduce infections, illnesses and deaths related to surgical procedures by providing surgical teams with the best, most current evidence related to the practice of surgery.

“Families here in Lethbridge and around southern Alberta want to know that they will receive compassionate, quality care from highly trained medical professionals when they need surgery or face an emergency,” said Maria Fitzpatrick, MLA for Lethbridge-East. “I’m proud that our healthcare system is delivering the outcomes our community deserves, and will continue supporting investment in frontline healthcare.”

Chinook Regional Hospital tracks surgical outcomes and uses this data to identify opportunities for improvement in the quality of surgical care. Among the surgery-related improvements reported at Chinook Regional Hospital between 2016 and 2017:

  • The rate of postoperative infections (all types of surgeries) went from 2.76 per cent in 2016 to 2.02 per cent in 2017, a 27 per cent reduction, placing Chinook Regional Hospital in the top third of participating hospitals.
  • The 30-day re-admission rate for general surgery patients went from 22 events in 2016 to 12 events in 2017, placing Chinook Regional Hospital in the top 10 per cent of all participating hospitals.
  • Out of 541 orthopedic surgeries in 2017, there were no cardiac complications, due in part to improved pre-operative assessments that aim to better prepare patients prior to surgery (there were none in 2016 either). Last year, the hospital also had no cardiac complications for all types of surgery; there were five cardiac events for all types of surgery in 2016.

“The surgical teams at Chinook Regional Hospital have demonstrated how to use clinical data as a decision-making guideline for improvement work that is world class,” said David Chakravorty, a Provincial Lead with the AHS Surgery Strategic Clinical Network.

Having a way to track our progress has been a great way to guide our quality improvement efforts,” adds hospital anesthesiologist Dr. Melissa Setiawan: “It’s a slow and sure process but it does pay off, as our current standing shows.”

The 83 commended hospitals achieved the distinction based on their outstanding quality scores across eight areas, including mortality, renal failure, pneumonia, cardiac incidents, surgical site infections and urinary tract infections.

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and to improve the care of the surgical patient. The college is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The college has more than 80,000 members and it is the largest organization of surgeons in the world.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.