In 1988, the New York State Health Commissioner was confronted with hospital-level data demonstrating very large, multiple-year, interhospital variations in short-term mortality and complications for cardiac surgery. The concern with the extent to which these differences were due to variations in patients' pre-surgical severity of illness versus hospitals' quality of care led to the development of clinical registries for cardiac surgery in 1989 and for percutaneous coronary interventions in 1992 in New York. In 1990, the Department of Health released hospitals' risk-adjusted cardiac surgery mortality rates for the first time, and shortly thereafter, similar data were released for hospitals and physicians for percutaneous coronary interventions, cardiac valve surgery, and pediatric cardiac surgery (only hospital data). This practice is still ongoing. The purpose of this communication is to relate the history of this initiative, including changes or purported changes that have occurred since the public release of cardiac data. These changes include decreases in risk-adjusted mortality, cessation of cardiac surgery in New York by low-volume and high-mortality surgeons, out-of-state referral or avoidance of cardiac surgery/angioplasty for high-risk patients, alteration of contracting choices by insurance companies, and modifications in market share of cardiac hospitals. Evidence related to these impacts is reviewed and critiqued. This communication also includes a summary of numerous studies that used New York's cardiac registries to examine a variety of policy issues regarding the choice and use of cardiac procedures, the comparative effectiveness of competing treatment options, and the examination of the relationship among processes, structures, and outcomes of cardiac care.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine