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Surgeons, Duke and CMS to launch mashup database


By Joseph Conn
Posted: March 12, 2014 - 1:45 pm ET
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The Society of Thoracic Surgeons will team its clinical database and analytics capabilities at the Duke Clinical Research Institute with Medicare claims data from the CMS to create more effective risk models and survival probabilities for various procedures as well as other insights.

The new collaboration will affect two of the society's three databases that are components of the STS National Database, launched in 1989—the adult cardiac surgery database containing data on more than 5.2 million heart surgery procedures, and the general thoracic surgery database with more than 360,000 procedures, including lobectomy and esophagectomy. Excluded is the congenital heart surgery database, which contains data on patients typically younger than Medicare age.

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The clinical outcomes to be reviewed under the collaboration will include hospital readmission rates, second procedures and long-term survival, according to an announcement by the Chicago-based STS.

“Duke has been the primary analysis center for the STS National Database for the past 15 years, and during that time the database and the field of cardiothoracic surgery have seen tremendous growth,” said Dr. J. Matthew Brennan, assistant professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C. “I think we are all hopeful that this collaboration will ultimately help patients by taking the database to a new level and addressing clinical and economic questions that could not have been addressed previously.”

The mashup of two databases will enable the society “to create more accurate and up-to-date risk models and long-term survival calculators for individual procedures,” said Dr. David Shahian, chairman of the society's workforce on national databases. “Surgeons would be able to estimate survival probability for patients based on their specific illness severity, co-existing medical conditions and symptoms. This is particularly important for patients as they research treatment options and work with their physician teams to select the care they feel is best.”

The society's data have historically focused on short-term outcomes while the CMS data cover longer-term results.

Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn


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