RACS and Medibank are pleased to publish Surgical Variance Reports, which analyse a number of clinical and other indicators for common procedures within surgical specialities, including general surgery, urology, ear, nose and throat surgery, vascular surgery and orthopaedic surgery.
The first series of reports were published in 2016 and based on analysis of de-identified Medibank claims data from 2014, which RACS has analysed and interpreted. The reports deliberately pose questions that every clinician can reasonably ask about the possible reasons for the variations, and consider individual answers.
In 2017 RACS and Medibank worked together to prepare a second series of reports which are based on an analysis of de-identified Medibank claims data from the 2015 and 2016 financial years. The general surgery and orthopaedic surgery reports are now available and further reports for urology, otolaryngology head and neck surgery, and vascular surgery will be released shortly.
Following on from these series of reports, Medibank commissioned RACS to undertake a review of same-day surgery for hernia repair. This project investigated a range of questions arising from the variation identified in hernia services, and looked at published evidence and clinical practice guidelines. The report concluded that 70-80 per cent of inguinal and hernia repair patients can be safely and effectively managed as day patients in Australian practice.
RACS and Medibank will continue to work together to identify opportunities to improve and enhance these reports so that they are as meaningful and useful as possible to surgeons and we welcome feedback and comments.
The data contained in these reports do not define best practice, however it is hoped that by highlighting variation in practice, we will be able to improve clinical outcomes and patient care.