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Cardiac surgeons in the UK have openly published their outcome data at hospital and individual surgeon levels since 2005. Publication of these data has been associated with a decreased risk of inhospital mortality following cardiac surgery despite more high risk patients undergoing surgery. Cardiac surgeons in the UK have now developed a series of different tools with the aim of further improving transparency, facilitating access to clinical data and driving quality improvement. These tools make contemporary high quality data from the National Adult Cardiac Surgery Audit (NACSA) database available to various different interest groups. This article describes the tools that have been developed and details how they can be accessed.
The National Health Service (NHS) commissioning Board has recently announced that results for 10 specialties will be published at an individual team level by Summer 2013.1 The public inquiry into the events at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust has also recommended that clinical outcomes should be published more widely to assure the quality of healthcare services and help prevent further failures of clinical governance.2 UK cardiac surgeons first published their results in 2005 following a request by the Guardian newspaper under the newly introduced Freedom of Information Act.3 Following on from this, the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery in Great Britain and Ireland (SCTS) has continued to conduct governance analyses and publish results at hospital and individual surgeon levels. This was done initially in conjunction with the Care Quality Commission but more recently results have been published on the SCTS website (http://www.scts.org/patients).4
The outcomes published in the public domain are based on an analysis of ‘all’ cardiac surgery over a 3-year window of …