SAGES quality initiative: an introduction

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Article, Peer-reviewed

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The Medicare program has transitioned to paying healthcare providers based on the quality of care delivered, not on the quantity. In May 2015, SAGES held its first ever Quality Summit. The goal of this meeting was to provide us with the information necessary to put together a strategic plan for our Society over the next 3-5 years, and to participate actively on a national level to help develop valid measures of quality of surgery. The transition to value-based medicine requires that providers are now measured and reimbursed based on the quality of services they provide rather than the quantity of patients in their care. As of 2014, quality measures must cover 3 of the 6 available National Quality domains. Physician quality reporting system measures are created via a vigorous process which is initiated by the proposal of the quality measure and subsequent validation. Commercial, non-profit, and governmental agencies have now been engaged in the measurement of hospital performance through structural measures, process measures, and increasingly with outcomes measures. This more recent focus on outcomes measures have been linked to hospital payments through the Value-Based Purchasing program. Outcomes measures of quality drive CMS' new program, MACRA, using two formats: Merit-based incentive programs and alternative payment models. But, the quality of information now available is highly variable and difficult for the average consumer to use. Quality metrics serve to guide efforts to improve performance and for consumer education. Professional organizations such as SAGES play a central role in defining the agenda for improving quality, outcomes, and safety. The mission of SAGES is to improve the quality of patient care through education, research, innovation, and leadership, principally in gastrointestinal and endoscopic surgery.