Three major academic medical systems impose minimum-volume standards
- Three major U.S. academic medical systems (Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Johns Hopkins Medicine and the University of Michigan) are planning to impose minimum volumes on procedures at their hospitals.
- The health systems made the decision to require physicians to perform a minimum number of procedures in order to obtain or maintain privileges following an analysis conducted by US News & World Report that showed a correlation between low volumes and increased risk.
- This is the first coordinated effort to require minimum volumes for hospital privileges.
For years, health policy experts have debated how to address the risks for low-volume procedures and have not been able to come to a concensus. On one hand there's evidence that, in general, a lower volume of procedures can lead to higher risks. On the other hand, just because someone's doing a higher number of procedures doesn't necessarily mean they're being done correctly.
Although assigning a minimum threshold number for procedures may be a good starting point, it doesn't take the place of ongoing professional practice evaluation. No matter how many procedures they're doing, physicians still need to be evaluated on an ongoing basis to make sure they are maintaining competence.
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- US News & World Report Hospitals Move to Limit Low-Volume Surgeries