Dr. Dawes is a board-certified, fellowship-trained colon and rectal surgeon. He is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery, Division of General Surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Dr. Dawes treats a wide variety of conditions involving the colon, rectum, and anus, always leveraging the latest evidence and technologies. He is fully trained in minimally invasive surgical techniques--including laparoscopic, robotic, and trans-anal minimally invasive surgery--and strives to employ them, whenever possible, in an effort to reduce pain and shorten recovery.

In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Dawes is a health services researcher, receiving his Ph.D. in Health Policy and Management from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. His research focuses on policy development, measurement, and evaluation for patients with colorectal conditions. He is particularly interested in using data to drive policy interventions aimed at reducing disparities in quality, access, and value.

Prior to joining Stanford, Dr. Dawes completed a residency in General Surgery at the University of California, Los Angeles followed by a fellowship in Colon and Rectal Surgery at the University of Minnesota. He has authored articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Cancer, Diseases of the Colon and Rectum, Health Services Research, and JAMA Surgery. His work has also been featured in the Los Angeles Times, the Daily Press, and HealthDay News.

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Dr. Dawes received his A.B. in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University and his M.D. from Vanderbilt University.

Clinical Focus

  • Colon and Rectal Surgery Specialty
  • Colon Cancer
  • Rectal Cancer
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
  • General Surgery

Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Robotic Surgery Committee, Stanford Health Care (2020 - Present)

Honors & Awards

  • Howard A. Reber Golden Scalpel Award for Most Outstanding Performance as Chief Resident, University of California, Los Angeles (2019)
  • Dr. Ursula Mandel Scholarship, University of California, Los Angeles (2015)
  • Graduate Research Mentorship Award, University of California, Los Angeles (2015)
  • Specialty Training and Advanced Research Award, University of California, Los Angeles (2014)
  • Housestaff Quality Improvement Scholarship, University of California, Los Angeles (2013)
  • Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honors Society, Vanderbilt University (2011)
  • School of Medicine Award of Distinction, Vanderbilt University (2011)
  • Junior Commissioned Officer Student Training and Extern Program, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps/Indian Health Service (2008)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Reviewer's Guild, Diseases of the Colon & Rectum (2019 - 2020)
  • Fellow, American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (2018 - Present)
  • Member, AcademyHealth (2014 - Present)
  • Member, Surgical Outcomes Club (2013 - Present)
  • Fellow, American College of Surgeons (2010 - Present)

Professional Education

  • Board Certification: American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery, Colon and Rectal Surgery (2021)
  • Fellowship, University of Minnesota, Colon & Rectal Surgery (2020)
  • Board Certification: American Board of Surgery, General Surgery (2019)
  • Residency, University of California, Los Angeles, General Surgery (2019)
  • PhD, Fielding UCLA School of Public Health, Health Policy and Management (2016)
  • Internship, University of California, Los Angeles, General Surgery (2012)
  • MD, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Medicine (2011)
  • AB, Princeton University, Public and International Affairs (2006)

Clinical Trials

  • MeSenteric SpAring Versus High Ligation Ileocolic Resection for the Prevention of REcurrent Crohn's DiseaSe (SPARES) Recruiting

    Study description - Patients will be randomized according to post-operative recurrence risk to either a high ligation of ileocolic artery or mesenteric sparing ileocolic resection for terminal ileal Crohn's disease. The primary endpoint 6-month endoscopic recurrence. Endpoints - Primary endpoint; 6 months Secondary endpoints at 1 and 5 years post ileocecal resection Study population - Adult Crohn's disease patients with medically refractory terminal ileal Crohn's disease undergoing a primary ileocecal resection. Study sites - Multicenter international study Description of study intervention - Randomized control trial of two operative techniques Operative approach of a high ligation of ileocolic artery as compared to mesenteric sparing for a primary ileocolic resection Participate duration - 5 years

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All Publications

  • Racial and ethnic disparities in access to total neoadjuvant therapy for rectal cancer. Surgery Chan, M., Rajasekar, G., Arnow, K. D., Wagner, T. H., Dawes, A. J. 2024


    BACKGROUND: Total neoadjuvant therapy has revolutionized the treatment of locally advanced rectal cancer and quickly become the new standard of care. Whether patients from all racial and ethnic groups have had equal access to these potential benefits, however, remains unknown.METHODS: We identified all adults diagnosed with locally advanced rectal cancer in California who underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy and radiation from 2010 to 2020 using the California Cancer Registry. We used logistic regression to estimate the predicted probability of receiving total neoadjuvant therapy as opposed to traditional chemoradiotherapy for each racial and ethnic group and used a time-race interaction to evaluate trends in access to total neoadjuvant therapy over time. We also compared survival by racial and ethnic group and total neoadjuvant therapy status using Kaplan-Meier plots and Cox proportional hazards models.RESULTS: In total, 6,856 patients met inclusion criteria. Overall, 36.6% of patients received total neoadjuvant therapy in 2010 compared with 66.3% in 2020. Latino patients were significantly less likely than non-Latino White patients to undergo total neoadjuvant therapy ; however, there was no difference in the rate of growth in total neoadjuvant therapy over time between racial and ethnic groups. Non-Latino Black patients appeared to have lower risk-adjusted survival compared with non-Latino White patients, although not among patients who underwent total neoadjuvant therapy .CONCLUSION: Access to total neoadjuvant therapy has increased significantly over time in California with no apparent difference in the rate of growth between racial and ethnic groups. We found no evidence of racial or ethnic disparities in survival among patients treated with total neoadjuvant therapy, suggesting that increasing access to high-quality cancer care may also improve health equity.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.surg.2024.06.022

    View details for PubMedID 39004576

  • Perianal Fistulizing Crohn's Disease: Outcomes of Surgical Repairs and Current State of Stem Cell-Based Therapies CLINICS IN COLON AND RECTAL SURGERY Dawes, A. J., Lightner, A. L. 2024
  • Variance Decomposition of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Colon Cancer. JAMA surgery Rajasekar, G., Arnow, K. D., Dawes, A. J. 2024

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jamasurg.2024.0424

    View details for PubMedID 38717761

  • Disparities in Access, Quality, and Clinical Outcome for Latino Californians with Colon Cancer. Annals of surgery Dawes, A. J., Rajasekar, G., Arnow, K. D., Trickey, A. W., Harris, A. H., Morris, A. M., Wagner, T. H. 2024


    OBJECTIVE: To compare access, quality, and clinical outcomes between Latino and non-Latino White Californians with colon cancer.SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: Racial and ethnic disparities in cancer care remain understudied, particularly among patients who identify as Latino. Exploring potential mechanisms, including differential utilization of high-volume hospitals, is an essential first step to designing evidence-based policy solutions.METHODS: We identified all adults diagnosed with colon cancer between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2020 from a statewide cancer registry linked to hospital administrative records. We compared survival, access (stage at diagnosis, receipt of surgical care, treatment at a high-volume hospital), and quality of care (receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy, adequacy of lymph node resection) between patients who identified as Latino and as non-Latino White.RESULTS: 75,543 patients met inclusion criteria, including 16,071 patients who identified as Latino (21.3%). Latino patients were significantly less likely to undergo definitive surgical resection (marginal difference [MD] -0.72 percentage points, 95% CI -1.19,-0.26), have an operation in a timely fashion (MD -3.24 percentage points, 95% CI -4.16,-2.32), or have an adequate lymphadenectomy (MD -2.85 percentage points, 95% CI -3.59,-2.12) even after adjustment for clinical and sociodemographic factors. Latino patients treated at high-volume hospitals were significantly less likely to die and more likely to meet access and quality metrics.CONCLUSIONS: Latino colon cancer patients experienced delays, segregation, and lower receipt of recommended care. Hospital-level colectomy volume appears to be strongly associated with access, quality, and survival--especially for patients who identify as Latino--suggesting that directing at-risk cancer patients to high-volume hospitals may improve health equity.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/SLA.0000000000006251

    View details for PubMedID 38407273

  • The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Hemorrhoids. Diseases of the colon and rectum Hawkins, A. T., Davis, B. R., Bhama, A. R., Fang, S. H., Dawes, A. J., Feingold, D. L., Lightner, A. L., Paquette, I. M. 2024

    View details for DOI 10.1097/DCR.0000000000003276

    View details for PubMedID 38294832

  • Stoma Complications CLINICS IN COLON AND RECTAL SURGERY Dawes, A. J., Gahagan, J. V. 2023
  • Reply. Diseases of the colon and rectum Dawes, A. J., Lowry, A. C., Jensen, C. C., Thorsen, A. J. 2023

    View details for DOI 10.1097/DCR.0000000000003024

    View details for PubMedID 37556000

  • Does Rectoanal Intussusception Limit Improvements in Clinical Outcome and Quality of Life after Sacral Nerve Stimulation for Fecal Incontinence? Diseases of the colon and rectum Dawes, A. J., Mariscal, J., White, P., Midura, E. F., Sirany, A. E., Lowry, A. C., Jensen, C. C., Thorsen, A. J. 2023


    Sacral nerve stimulation is a treatment option for severe, medically refractory fecal incontinence, although its use in patients with anatomic abnormalities remains controversial.To determine if patients with rectoanal intussusception achieve similar benefits from device implantation to patients without rectoanal intussusception.Retrospective review of a prospectively maintained database. Demographics and clinical data were collected for each patient, including pre-operative pelvic floor testing. Defecographies were re-analyzed in a blinded fashion. Pre-operative rectoanal intussusception was determined based on the Oxford system (grade III-IV vs. not; grade V excluded).Academic-affiliated pelvic health center.All patients undergoing sacral nerve stimulation for fecal incontinence between July 2011 and July 2019.Cleveland Clinic Florida Incontinence/Wexner Scores, Fecal Incontinence Severity Indices, Fecal Incontinence Quality of Life Indices at 1 year.169 patients underwent sacral nerve stimulation for fecal incontinence during the study period. The average age was 60.3 years old and 91% were female. Forty-six patients (27.2%) had concomitant rectoanal intussusception (38 [22.5%] grade III and 8 [4.7%] grade IV). Before surgery, patients reported an average of 10.8 accidents per week and a Wexner score of 15.7 with no difference between patients with and without rectoanal intussusception (p = 0.22 and 0.95). At 1 year after surgery, the average Wexner score was 9.5. There was no difference in post-operative Wexner scores (10.4 vs. 9.2, p = 0.23) or improvement over time between patients with and without rectoanal intussusception (-6.7 vs. -5.7, p = 0.40). Similarly, there was no difference in quality of life or frequency of incontinence to liquid or solid stool.Single institution, moderate sample size, incomplete survey response.Concomitant rectoanal intussusception does not appear to affect clinical outcomes or quality of life after sacral nerve stimulation for fecal incontinence. Appropriate patients with fecal incontinence and rectoanal intussusception can be considered for sacral nerve stimulation placement.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/DCR.0000000000002685

    View details for PubMedID 36989066

  • Using AI and computer vision to analyze technical proficiency in robotic surgery. Surgical endoscopy Yang, J. H., Goodman, E. D., Dawes, A. J., Gahagan, J. V., Esquivel, M. M., Liebert, C. A., Kin, C., Yeung, S., Gurland, B. H. 2022


    BACKGROUND: Intraoperative skills assessment is time-consuming and subjective; an efficient and objective computer vision-based approach for feedback is desired. In this work, we aim to design and validate an interpretable automated method to evaluate technical proficiency using colorectal robotic surgery videos with artificial intelligence.METHODS: 92 curated clips of peritoneal closure were characterized by both board-certified surgeons and a computer vision AI algorithm to compare the measures of surgical skill. For human ratings, six surgeons graded clips according to the GEARS assessment tool; for AI assessment, deep learning computer vision algorithms for surgical tool detection and tracking were developed and implemented.RESULTS: For the GEARS category of efficiency, we observe a positive correlation between human expert ratings of technical efficiency and AI-determined total tool movement (r=-0.72). Additionally, we show that more proficient surgeons perform closure with significantly less tool movement compared to less proficient surgeons (p<0.001). For the GEARS category of bimanual dexterity, a positive correlation between expert ratings of bimanual dexterity and the AI model's calculated measure of bimanual movement based on simultaneous tool movement (r=0.48) was also observed. On average, we also find that higher skill clips have significantly more simultaneous movement in both hands compared to lower skill clips (p<0.001).CONCLUSIONS: In this study, measurements of technical proficiency extracted from AI algorithms are shown to correlate with those given by expert surgeons. Although we target measurements of efficiency and bimanual dexterity, this work suggests that artificial intelligence through computer vision holds promise for efficiently standardizing grading of surgical technique, which may help in surgical skills training.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s00464-022-09781-y

    View details for PubMedID 36536082

  • Surgical Management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Rhode Island medical journal (2013) Anto, V. P., Dawes, A. J., Vrees, M., Watson, A. R., Lightner, A. L. 2022; 105 (10): 25-30

    View details for PubMedID 36413448

  • Phase II trial of organ preservation program using short-course radiation and folfoxiri for rectal cancer (SHORT-FOX) Pollom, E. L., Shelton, A., Fisher, G. A., Bien, J., King, D., Johnson, T., Chen, C., Shaheen, S., Chong, C., Vitzthum, L., Kirilcuk, N., Morris, A. M., Kin, C., Dawes, A., Sheth, V., Sundaram, V., Brown, E., Chang, D. LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS. 2022
  • Out-of-Pocket Costs Among Patients With a New Cancer Diagnosis Enrolled in High-Deductible Health Plans vs Traditional Insurance. JAMA network open Fu, S. J., Rose, L., Dawes, A. J., Knowlton, L. M., Ruddy, K. J., Morris, A. M. 1800; 4 (12): e2134282


    Importance: The financial burden of a cancer diagnosis is increasing rapidly with advances in cancer care. Simultaneously, more individuals are enrolling in high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) vs traditional insurance than ever before.Objective: To characterize the out-of-pocket costs (OOPCs) of cancer care for individuals in HDHPs vs traditional insurance plans.Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective cohort study used the administrative claims data of a single national insurer in the US for 134 826 patients aged 18 to 63 years with a new diagnosis of breast, colorectal, lung, or other cancer from 2008 to 2018 with 24 months or more of continuous enrollment. Propensity score matching was performed to create comparator groups based on the presence or absence of an incident cancer diagnosis.Exposures: A new cancer diagnosis and enrollment in an HDHP vs a traditional health insurance plan.Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was OOPCs among individuals with breast, colon, lung, or all other types of cancer combined compared with those with no cancer diagnosis. A triple difference-in-differences analysis was performed to identify incremental OOPCs based on cancer diagnosis and enrollment in HDHPs vs traditional plans.Results: After propensity score matching, 134 826 patients remained in each of the cancer (73 572 women [55%]; median age, 53 years [IQR, 46-58 years]; 110 071 non-Hispanic White individuals [82%]) and noncancer (66 619 women [49%]; median age, 53 years [IQR, 46-59 years]; 105 023 non-Hispanic White individuals [78%]) cohorts. Compared with baseline costs of medical care among individuals without cancer, a breast cancer diagnosis was associated with the highest incremental OOPC ($714.68; 95% CI, $664.91-$764.45), followed by lung ($475.51; 95% CI, $340.16-$610.86), colorectal ($361.41; 95% CI, $294.34-$428.48), and all other types of cancer combined ($90.51; 95% CI, $74.22-$106.79). Based on the triple difference-in-differences analysis, compared with patients without cancer enrolled in HDHPs, those with breast cancer paid $1683.36 in additional yearly OOPCs (95% CI, $1576.66-$1790.07), those with colorectal cancer paid $1420.06 more (95% CI, $1232.31-$1607.80), those with lung cancer paid $467.25 more (95% CI, $130.13-$804.37), and those with other types of cancer paid $550.87 more (95% CI, $514.75-$586.99).Conclusions and Relevance: Patients with cancer and private insurance experienced sharp increases in OOPCs compared with those without cancer, which was amplified among those with HDHPs. These findings illustrate the degree to which HDHPs offer poorer protection than traditional insurance against unexpected health care expenses. Coupled with the increasing cost of cancer care, higher cost sharing in the form of increasing enrollment in HDHPs requires further research on the potential clinical consequences through delayed or foregone care.

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.34282

    View details for PubMedID 34935922

  • Mobile health technology for remote home monitoring after surgery: a meta-analysis. The British journal of surgery Dawes, A. J., Lin, A. Y., Varghese, C., Russell, M. M., Lin, A. Y. 2021


    BACKGROUND: Mobile health (mHealth) technology has been proposed as a method of improving post-discharge surveillance. Little is known about how mHealth has been used to track patients after surgery and whether its use is associated with differences in postoperative recovery.METHODS: Three databases (PubMed, MEDLINE and the Cochrane Central Registry of Controlled Trials) were searched to identify studies published between January 1999 and February 2021. Mobile health was defined as any smartphone or tablet computer capable of electronically capturing health-related patient information and transmitting these data to the clinical team. Comparable outcomes were pooled via meta-analysis with additional studies compiled via narrative review. The quality of each study was assessed based on Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) criteria.RESULTS: Forty-five articles met inclusion criteria. While the majority of devices were designed to capture general health information, others were specifically adapted to the expected outcomes or potential complications of the index procedure. Exposure to mHealth was associated with fewer emergency department visits (odds ratio 0.42, 95 per cent c.i. 0.23 to 0.79) and readmissions (odds ratio 0.47, 95 per cent c.i. 0.29 to 0.77) as well as accelerated improvements in quality of life after surgery. There were limited data on other postoperative outcomes.CONCLUSION: Remote home monitoring via mHealth is feasible, adaptable, and may even promote more effective postoperative care. Given the rapid expansion of mHealth, physicians and policymakers need to understand these technologies better so that they can be integrated into high-quality clinical care.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/bjs/znab323

    View details for PubMedID 34661649

  • The Association Between Risk Aversion of Surgeons and Their Clinical Decision-Making. The Journal of surgical research Sacks, G. D., Dawes, A. J., Tsugawa, Y., Brook, R. H., Russell, M. M., Ko, C. Y., Maggard-Gibbons, M., Ettner, S. L. 2021; 268: 232-243


    BACKGROUND: The extent to which a surgeon's risk aversion influences their clinical decisions remains unknown. We assessed whether a surgeon's attitude toward risk ("risk aversion") influences their surgical decisions and whether the relationship can be explained by differences in surgeons' perception of treatment risks and benefits.MATERIALS AND METHODS: We presented a series of detailed clinical vignettes to a national sample of surgeons (n=1,769; 13.4% adjusted response rate) and asked them to complete an instrument that measured how risk averse they are within their clinical practice (scale 6-36; higher number indicates greater risk aversion). For each vignette, participants rated their likelihood of recommending an operation and judged the likelihood of complications or full recovery. We examined whether differences in perceived likelihood of complications versus recovery could explain why risk-averse surgeons may be less likely to recommend an operation.RESULTS: Surgeons varied in their self-reported risk aversion score (median=25, interquartile range[22,28]). Scores did not differ by level of surgeon experience or gender. Risk-averse surgeons were significantly less likely to recommend an operation for patients with exactly the same condition (65.5% for surgeons in highest quartile of risk aversion versus 62.3% for lowest quartile; P=0.02). However, after controlling for surgeons' perception of the likelihood of complications versus recovery, there was no longer a significant association between surgeons' risk aversion and the decision to recommend an operation (64.7% versus 64.8%; P=0.96).CONCLUSIONS: Surgeons vary widely in their self-reported risk aversion. Risk-averse surgeons were significantly less likely to recommend an operation, a finding that was explained by a higher perceived probability of post-operative complications than their colleagues.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jss.2021.06.056

    View details for PubMedID 34371282

  • Rectovaginal Fistulas Secondary to Obstetrical Injury. Clinics in colon and rectal surgery Dawes, A. J., Jensen, C. C. 2021; 34 (1): 28-39


    Rectovaginal fistula (RVF), defined as any abnormal connection between the rectum and the vagina, is a complex and debilitating condition. RVF can occur for a variety of reasons, but frequently develops following obstetric injury. Patients with suspected RVF require thorough evaluation, including history and physical examination, imaging, and objective evaluation of the anal sphincter complex. Prior to attempting repair, sepsis must be controlled and the tract allowed to mature over a period of 3 to 6 months. All repair techniques involve reestablishing a healthy, well-vascularized rectovaginal septum, either through reconstruction with local tissue or tissue transfer via a pedicled flap. The selection of a specific repair technique is determined by the level of the fistula tract and the status of the anal sphincter. Despite best efforts, recurrence is common and should be discussed with patients prior to repair. As the ultimate goal of RVF repair is to minimize symptoms and maximize quality of life, patients should help to direct their own care based on the risks and benefits of available treatment options.

    View details for DOI 10.1055/s-0040-1714284

    View details for PubMedID 33536847

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7843952

  • Rectovaginal Fistulas Secondary to Obstetrical Injury CLINICS IN COLON AND RECTAL SURGERY Dawes, A. J., Jensen, C. C. 2020
  • Assessing Knowledge and Perceptions of Colorectal Cancer Screening in Armenia. The Journal of surgical research Torosian, T., Abrami, E. A., Massoumi, R. L., Harutyunyan, N. M., Dallakyan, G., Hovhannisyan, H., Hovhannisyan, M., Dawes, A. J., Aboulian, A., Shekherdimian, S. 2020; 257: 616–24


    BACKGROUND: Armenia has a high incidence of and mortality from colorectal cancer (CRC). No organized screening programs for CRC exist in Armenia. This study seeks to evaluate knowledge of and attitudes toward CRC and screening programs in Armenia.METHODS: Adults aged 40-64y were administered a survey using convenience sampling throughout polyclinics in Yerevan city. Survey questions were based on the Health Belief Model and were translated and modified for local relevance.RESULTS: A total of 368 surveys were completed. Eighty-four percent had knowledge of CRC, 91% believed that early detection leads to improved outcomes, but only 22% had knowledge of screening. Women were more likely to have knowledge of CRC (odds ratio 2.19, P<0.05). Although 19% have personally worried about having CRC, only 7% admitted to discussing their worries with a provider and 76% were willing to undergo screening if recommended by their doctor. Seventy-eight percent of respondents would only undergo screening if free or less than ~$20 USD.CONCLUSIONS: Self-reported knowledge of CRC is high, whereas knowledge of screening remains low in Armenia. There is a willingness to undergo screening if recommended by a health care professional; however, this willingness is cost-sensitive. Interventions aimed at (1) increasing awareness of the disease and screening tests, (2) improving physician counseling, and (3) reducing financial barriers to screening should be considered along with the implementation of a national screening program in Armenia.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jss.2020.08.038

    View details for PubMedID 32949994

  • Operative Incision and Drainage for Perirectal Abscesses: What Are Risk Factors for Prolonged Length of Stay, Reoperation, and Readmission? DISEASES OF THE COLON & RECTUM Sho, S., Dawes, A. J., Chen, F. C., Russell, M. M., Kwaan, M. R. 2020; 63 (8): 1127–33


    Perirectal abscess is a common problem. Despite a seemingly simple disease to manage, clinical outcomes of perirectal abscesses can vary significantly given the wide array of patients who are susceptible to this disease.Our aims were to evaluate the outcomes after operative incision and drainage for perirectal abscess and to examine factors associated with length of stay, reoperations, and readmissions.This was a retrospective analysis of the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database.The study was conducted with hospitals participating in the surgical database.Adult patients undergoing outpatient perirectal abscess procedures from 2011 through 2016 were included.Study outcomes were length of stay, reoperation, and readmission.We identified 2358 patients undergoing incision and drainage for perirectal abscesses. Approximately 35% of patients required hospital stay. Reoperations occurred in 3.4%, with median time to reoperation of 15.5 days. The majority of reoperations (79.7%) were performed for additional incision and drainage. Readmissions rate was 3.0%, with median time to readmission of 10.5 days. Common indications for readmissions included recurrent/persistent abscess (41.4%) and fever/sepsis (8.6%). Risk factors for hospitalization in multivariable analysis were preoperative sepsis, bleeding disorder, and non-Hispanic black and Hispanic races. For reoperations, risk factors included morbid obesity, preoperative sepsis, and dependent functional status. Lastly, for readmissions, female sex, steroid/immunosuppression, and dependent functional status were significant risk factors.The study was limited by its retrospective analysis and potential selection bias in decisions on hospital stay, reoperation, and readmission.Suboptimal outcomes after outpatient operative incision and drainage for perirectal abscesses are not uncommon in the United States. In the era of value-based care, additional work is needed to optimize use outcomes for high-risk patients undergoing perirectal incision and drainage. Strategies to prevent inadequate drainage at the time of the initial operative incision and drainage (ie, use of imaging modalities and thorough examination under anesthesia) are warranted to improve patient outcomes. See Video Abstract at INCISIÓN Y DRENAJE QUIRÚRGICOS DE ABSCESOS PERIRRECTALES: CUALES SON LOS FACTORES DE RIESGO PARA UNA ESTADÍA PROLONGADA, REINTERVENCIÓN Y READMISION?: Los abscesos perirrectales son un problema frecuente. A pesar que parecen ser una afección aparentemente simple de manejar, los resultados clínicos de la incisión y drenaje quirúrgicos pueden variar significativamente dada la amplia variedad de pacientes susceptibles de sufrir esta afección.Evaluar los resultados después de la incisión y el drenaje quirúrgicos de un absceso perirrectal y analizar los factores asociados con la duración de la hospitalización, la reoperación y la readmisión.Análisis retrospectivo de la base de datos del Programa Americano de Mejora de la Calidad Quirúrgica.Hospitales que participan en la base de datos quirúrgica.Pacientes adultos sometidos a incisión y drenaje quirúrgico ambulatorio de un absceso perirrectal desde 2011 hasta 2016.Los resultados del estudio fueron la duración de la hospitalización, la reoperación y el reingreso.Fueron estudiados 2,358 pacientes sometidos a incisión y drenaje por abscesos perirrectales. Aproximadamente el 35% de los pacientes requirieron hospitalización. Las reoperaciones ocurrieron en 3.4% con una mediana de tiempo de reoperación de 15.5 días. La mayoría de las reoperaciones (79.7%) se realizaron para una incisión y drenaje adicionales. La tasa de reingreso fue del 3.0% con una mediana de tiempo de reingreso de 10.5 días. Las indicaciones comunes para los reingresos incluyeron abscesos recurrentes / persistentes (41.4%) y fiebre / sepsis (8.6%). Los factores de riesgo para la hospitalización en el análisis multivariable fueron sepsis preoperatoria, trastorno hemorrágico, raza negra no hispánica y raza hispana. Para las reoperaciones, los factores de riesgo incluyeron obesidad mórbida, sepsis preoperatoria y estado funcional dependiente. Por último, para los reingresos, el sexo femenino, uso de corticoides / inmunosupresores y un estadío funcional dependiente fueron factores de riesgo significativos.Análisis retrospectivo y posible sesgo de selección en las decisiones sobre hospitalización, reoperación y reingreso.Un resultado poco satisfactorio después de la incisión quirúrgica el drenaje de abscesos perirrectales ambulatoriamente no son infrecuentes en los Estados Unidos. En la era de la atención basada en los resultados, se necesita mucho más trabajo para optimizar los mismos en pacientes de alto riesgo sometidos a incisión y drenaje perirrectales. Las estrategias para prevenir el drenaje inadecuado en el momento de la incisión quirúrgica inicial y el drenaje (es decir, el uso de modalidades de imágenes, un examen completo bajo anestesia) son una garantía para mejorar los resultados en estos pacientes. Consulte Video Resumen en

    View details for DOI 10.1097/DCR.0000000000001653

    View details for Web of Science ID 000557519600019

    View details for PubMedID 32251145

  • Injury-specific variables improve risk adjustment and hospital quality assessment in severe traumatic brain injury JOURNAL OF TRAUMA AND ACUTE CARE SURGERY Dawes, A. J., Sacks, G. D., Needleman, J., Brook, R. H., Mittman, B. S., Ko, C. Y., Cryer, H., Marin, C., Petrik, P., Schneider, L., Hinika, G., Cleek, E., Upperman, J., Hotz, H., Margulies, D., Murphy, K., Hanpeter, D., Tyler, R., Putnam, B., Thompson, S., Obaid, A., Cruz-Manglapus, G., Singh, R., Thomas, D., Acker, B., Crowley, M., Saad, S., Smith, R., Shepherd, T., Meier, P., Murray, J., Cohen, M., Cryer, H., Navarrete, S., Demetriades, D., Los Angeles Cty Trauma Consortium 2019; 87 (2): 386–92


    Hospital benchmarking is essential to quality improvement, but its usefulness depends on the ability of statistical models to adequately control for inter-hospital differences in patient mix. We explored whether the addition of injury-specific clinical variables to the current American College of Surgeons-Trauma Quality Improvement Program (TQIP) algorithm would improve model fit.We analyzed a prospective registry containing all adult patients who presented to a regional consortium of 14 trauma centers between 2010 and 2011 with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). We used hierarchical logistic regression and stepwise forward selection to develop two novel risk-adjustment models. We then tested our novel models against the current TQIP model and ranked hospitals by their risk-adjusted mortality rates under each model to determine how model selection affects quality benchmarking.Seven hundred thirty-four patients met inclusion criteria. Stepwise selection resulted in two distinct models: one that added three TBI-specific variables (pupil reactivity, cerebral edema, loss of basal cisterns) to the model specification currently used by TQIP and another that combined two TBI-specific variables (pupil reactivity, cerebral edema) with a three-variable subset of TQIP (age, Abbreviated Injury Scale score for the head region, Glasgow Coma Scale motor score). Both novel models outperformed TQIP. Although rankings remained largely unchanged across model configurations, several hospitals moved across quality terciles.The inclusion of injury-specific variables improves risk adjustment for patients with severe TBI. Trauma Quality Improvement Program should consider replacing several of its general patient characteristics with injury-specific clinical predictors to increase efficiency, reduce the risk of overfitting, and improve the accuracy of hospital benchmarking.Prognostic and epidemiological, level II.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/TA.0000000000002297

    View details for Web of Science ID 000478606400017

    View details for PubMedID 30958810

  • Rescue Diverting Loop Ileostomy: An Alternative to Emergent Colectomy in the Setting of Severe Acute Refractory IBD-Colitis Russell, T. A., Dawes, A. J., Graham, D. S., Angarita, S. K., Ha, C., Sack, J. LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS. 2018: 214–20


    Severe acute refractory colitis has traditionally been an indication for emergent colectomy in IBD, yet under these circumstances patients are at elevated risk for complications because of their heightened inflammatory state, nutritional deficiencies, and immunocompromised state.We hypothesized that rescue diverting loop ileostomy may be a viable alternative to emergent colectomy, providing the opportunity for colonic healing and patient optimization before more definitive surgery.This was a retrospective case series.The study was conducted at a single academic center.Patients with severe acute medically refractory IBD-related colitis were included.Rescue diverting loop ileostomy was the intervening procedure.The primary outcome was avoidance of urgent/emergent colectomy. The secondary outcome was efficacy, defined by 3 clinical aims: 1) reduced steroid dependence or opportunity for bridge to medical rescue, 2) improved nutritional status, and 3) ability to undergo an elective laparoscopic definitive procedure or ileostomy reversal with colon salvage.Among 33 patients, 14 had Crohn's disease and 19 had ulcerative colitis. Three patients required urgent/emergent colectomy, 2 with ulcerative colitis and 1 with Crohn's disease. Across both disease cohorts, >80% of patients achieved each clinical aim for efficacy: 88% reduced their steroid dependence or were able to bridge to medical rescue, 87% improved their nutritional status, and 82% underwent an elective laparoscopic definitive procedure or ileostomy reversal. A total of 4 patients (11.7%) experienced a postoperative complication following diversion, including 3 surgical site infections and 1 episode of acute kidney injury.The study was limited by being a single-center, retrospective series.Rescue diverting loop ileostomy in the setting of severe, refractory IBD-colitis is a safe and effective alternative to emergent colectomy. This procedure has acceptably low complication rates and affords patients time for medical and nutritional optimization before definitive surgical intervention. See Video Abstract at

    View details for DOI 10.1097/DCR.0000000000000985

    View details for Web of Science ID 000422770100018

    View details for PubMedID 29337777

  • Corrected vs Uncorrected Obesity in Childbearing Women-What Really Drives Fetal Risks JAMA SURGERY Dawes, A. J., Dawes, D. M., Maggard-Gibbons, M. 2017; 152 (2): 135

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jamasurg.2016.3597

    View details for Web of Science ID 000395623800007

    View details for PubMedID 27760247

  • Same-Day Discharge in Laparoscopic Acute Non-Perforated Appendectomy JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SURGEONS Scott, A., Shekherdimian, S., Rouch, J. D., Sacks, G. D., Dawes, A. J., Lui, W. Y., Bridges, L., Heisler, T., Crain, S. R., Cheung, M. W., Aboulian, A. 2017; 224 (1): 43–48


    Small studies done during the past decade have demonstrated same-day discharge after appendectomy as an option for non-perforated appendicitis. Here we have examined a large cohort to confirm that same-day discharge in acute non-perforated appendicitis is a safe option.This was a retrospective study of patients from 14 Southern California Region Kaiser Permanente medical centers. All patients older than 18 years of age with acute, non-perforated appendicitis who underwent a laparoscopic appendectomy between 2010 and 2014 were included. We compared patients discharged on the day of surgery with patients hospitalized for 1 night. We examined readmission rates, complication rates, postoperative emergency department visits, postoperative diagnostic or therapeutic radiology visits, reoperations, and cost of treatment.The cohort was composed of 12,703 patients; 6,710 patients were in the same-day discharge group and 5,993 patients were in the hospitalized group. Patients in the same-day discharge group had a lower rate of readmission within 30 days when compared with the hospitalized group (2.2% vs 3.1%; p < 0.005). In both groups, postoperative rates of visits to emergency or radiology department for diagnostic or therapeutic imaging studies were statistically similar. Postoperative general surgery department visits were slightly higher in the hospitalized group (85% vs 81%; p < 0.001).Adult patients with acute, non-perforated appendicitis can be discharged safely on the day of surgery without higher rates of postoperative complication or readmission rates compared with those hospitalized after surgery. In addition, same-day discharge in this patient group is cost-effective.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2016.10.026

    View details for Web of Science ID 000396434700006

    View details for PubMedID 27863889

  • The cost-effectiveness of nonoperative management versus laparoscopic appendectomy for the treatment of acute, uncomplicated appendicitis in children. Journal of pediatric surgery Wu, J. X., Sacks, G. D., Dawes, A. J., DeUgarte, D. n., Lee, S. L. 2017; 52 (7): 1135–40


    Several studies have demonstrated the safety and short-term success of nonoperative management in children with acute, uncomplicated appendicitis. Nonoperative management spares the patients and their family the upfront cost and discomfort of surgery, but also risks recurrent appendicitis.Using decision-tree software, we evaluated the cost-effectiveness of nonoperative management versus routine laparoscopic appendectomy. Model variables were abstracted from a review of the literature, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, and Medicare Physician Fee schedule. Model uncertainty was assessed using both one-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses. We used a $100,000 per quality adjusted life year (QALY) threshold for cost-effectiveness.Operative management cost $11,119 and yielded 23.56 quality-adjusted life months (QALMs). Nonoperative management cost $2277 less than operative management, but yielded 0.03 fewer QALMs. The incremental cost-to-effectiveness ratio of routine laparoscopic appendectomy was $910,800 per QALY gained. This greatly exceeds the $100,000/QALY threshold and was not cost-effective. One-way sensitivity analysis found that operative management would become cost-effective if the 1-year recurrence rate of acute appendicitis exceeded 39.8%. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis indicated that nonoperative management was cost-effective in 92% of simulations.Based on our model, nonoperative management is more cost-effective than routine laparoscopic appendectomy for children with acute, uncomplicated appendicitis.Cost-Effectiveness Study: Level II.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2016.10.009

    View details for PubMedID 27836368

  • Patient Outcomes at Urban and Suburban Level I Versus Level II Trauma Centers. Annals of emergency medicine Kaji, A. H., Bosson, N. n., Gausche-Hill, M. n., Dawes, A. J., Putnam, B. n., Shepherd, T. n., Lewis, R. J. 2017; 70 (2): 161–68


    Regionalized systems of trauma care and level verification are promulgated by the American College of Surgeons. Whether patient outcomes differ between the 2 highest verifications, Levels I and II, is unknown. In contrast to Level II centers, Level I centers are required to care for a minimum number of severely injured patients, have immediate availability of subspecialty services and equipment, and demonstrate research, substance abuse screening, and injury prevention. We compare risk-adjusted mortality outcomes at Levels I and II centers.This was an analysis of data from the 2012 to 2014 Los Angeles County Trauma and Emergency Medical Information System. The system includes 14 trauma centers: 5 Level I and 9 Level II centers. Patients meeting criteria for transport to a trauma center are routed to the closest center, regardless of verification level. All adult patients (≥15 years) treated at any of the trauma centers were included. Outcomes of patients treated at Level I versus Level II centers were compared with 2 validated risk-adjusted models: Trauma Score-Injury Severity Score (TRISS) and the Haider model.Adult subjects (33,890) were treated at a Level I center; 29,724, at a Level II center. We found lower overall mortality at Level II centers compared with Level I, using TRISS (odds ratio 0.68; 95% confidence interval 0.59 to 0.78) and Haider (odds ratio 0.84; 95% confidence interval 0.73 to 0.97).In this cohort of patients treated at urban and suburban trauma centers, treatment at a Level II trauma center was associated with overall risk-adjusted reduced mortality relative to that at a Level I center. In the subset of penetrating trauma, no differences in mortality were found. Further study is warranted to determine optimal trauma system configuration and allocation of resources.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2017.01.040

    View details for PubMedID 28258762

  • Attitudes Toward Morbidity and Mortality Conferences Among Medical and Surgical Pediatric Specialists in Armenia. JAMA surgery Rouch, J. D., Dawes, A. J., Garber, K. n., Sukhudyan, B. n., Shekherdimian, S. n. 2017; 152 (12): 1178–80

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jamasurg.2017.2974

    View details for PubMedID 28854297

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5831431

  • Perineural bupivacaine injection reduces inguinodynia after inguinal hernia repair Crompton, J. G., Dawes, A. J., Donald, G. W., Livhits, M. J., Chandler, C. F. MOSBY-ELSEVIER. 2016: 1528–32


    Inguinodynia, defined as pain lasting >3 months after inguinal hernia repair, remains the major complication of hernia operation. We sought to determine the effect of direct perineural infiltration on acute pain and inguinodynia after open inguinal hernia repair.Patients who presented with an inguinal hernia at a university teaching hospital were evaluated prospectively and randomized to either (1) percutaneous ilioinguinal nerve block or (2) percutaneous ilioinguinal nerve block with additional perineural infiltration of the ilioinguinal, iliohypogastric, genitofemoral nerves. All patients in each group received a total of 12 mL of 0.5% bupivacaine. Self-reported faces of pain level (1-10), minutes to discharge from the recovery room, narcotic quantity consumed (oxycodone 5 mg/paracetamol 325 mg), days on narcotics, and incidence of inguinodynia at 3 months were all recorded.Ninety-two patients were randomized in the study. Patients who received perineural bupivacaine infiltration of nerves had less recovery room pain (1.3 vs 3.9, P < .001) and shorter recovery discharge times (89 vs 105 min, P = .047) and consumed fewer narcotics (9.7 vs 15.1 doses, P = .010). The incidence of inguinodynia at 3 months was less in the treatment group (8.2% vs 27.9%, P = .013).We have implemented a novel and inexpensive method of local nerve blockade that decreases pain immediately after operation and at 3 months postoperatively. Furthermore, our method leads to shorter recovery room stay and fewer narcotics after operation.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.surg.2016.07.016

    View details for Web of Science ID 000389157400014

    View details for PubMedID 27568492

  • Surgeon Perception of Risk and Benefit in the Decision to Operate ANNALS OF SURGERY Sacks, G. D., Dawes, A. J., Ettner, S. L., Brook, R. H., Fox, C. R., Maggard-Gibbons, M., Ko, C. Y., Russell, M. M. 2016; 264 (6): 896–903


    To determine how surgeons' perceptions of treatment risks and benefits influence their decisions to operate.Little is known about what makes one surgeon choose to operate on a patient and another chooses not to operate.Using an online study, we presented a national sample of surgeons (N = 767) with four detailed clinical vignettes (mesenteric ischemia, gastrointestinal bleed, bowel obstruction, appendicitis) where the best treatment option was uncertain and asked them to: (1) judge the risks (probability of serious complications) and benefits (probability of recovery) for operative and nonoperative management and (2) decide whether or not they would recommend an operation.Across all clinical vignettes, surgeons varied markedly in both their assessments of the risks and benefits of operative and nonoperative management (narrowest range 4%-100% for all four predictions across vignettes) and in their decisions to operate (49%-85%). Surgeons were less likely to operate as their perceptions of operative risk increased [absolute difference (AD) = -29.6% from 1.0 standard deviation below to 1.0 standard deviation above mean (95% confidence interval, CI: -31.6, -23.8)] and their perceptions of nonoperative benefit increased [AD = -32.6% (95% CI: -32.8,--28.9)]. Surgeons were more likely to operate as their perceptions of operative benefit increased [AD = 18.7% (95% CI: 12.6, 21.5)] and their perceptions of nonoperative risk increased [AD = 32.7% (95% CI: 28.7, 34.0)]. Differences in risk/benefit perceptions explained 39% of the observed variation in decisions to operate across the four vignettes.Given the same clinical scenarios, surgeons' perceptions of treatment risks and benefits vary and are highly predictive of their decisions to operate.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/SLA.0000000000001784

    View details for Web of Science ID 000387978500009

    View details for PubMedID 27192348

  • Measuring the Quality of Care for Patients With Traumatic Brain Injury Reply JAMA SURGERY Dawes, A. J., Cryer, H. 2016; 151 (3): 295

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jamasurg.2015.4230

    View details for Web of Science ID 000372286200027

    View details for PubMedID 26580688

  • Variation in Hospital Use of Postacute Care After Surgery and the Association With Care Quality MEDICAL CARE Sacks, G. D., Lawson, E. H., Dawes, A. J., Weiss, R. E., Russell, M. M., Brook, R. H., Zingmond, D. S., Ko, C. Y. 2016; 54 (2): 172–79


    Little is known about hospital use of postacute care after surgery and whether it is related to measures of surgical quality.We used data merged between a national surgery registry, Medicare inpatient claims, the Area Resource File, and the American Hospital Association Annual Survey (2005-2008). Using bivariate and multivariate analyses, we calculated hospital-level, risk-adjusted rates of postacute care use for both inpatient facilities (IF) and home health care (HHC), and examined the association of these rates with hospital quality measures, including mortality, complications, readmissions, and length of stay.Of 112,620 patients treated at 217 hospitals, 18.6% were discharged to an IF, and 19.9% were discharged with HHC. Even after adjusting for differences in patient and hospital characteristics, hospitals varied widely in their use of both IF (mean, 20.3%; range, 2.7%-39.7%) and HHC (mean, 22.3%; range, 3.1%-57.8%). A hospital's risk-adjusted postoperative mortality rate or complication rate was not significantly associated with its use of postacute care, but higher 30-day readmission rates were associated with higher use of IF (24.1% vs. 21.2%, P=0.03). Hospitals with longer average length of stay used IF less frequently (19.4% vs. 24.4%, P<0.01).Hospitals vary widely in their use of postacute care. Although hospital use of postacute care was not associated with risk-adjusted complication or mortality rates, hospitals with high readmission rates and shorter lengths of stay used inpatient postacute care more frequently. To reduce variations in care, better criteria are needed to identify which patients benefit most from these services.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000463

    View details for Web of Science ID 000372935000010

    View details for PubMedID 26595222

  • Impact of a Risk Calculator on Risk Perception and Surgical Decision Making: A Randomized Trial. Annals of surgery Sacks, G. D., Dawes, A. J., Ettner, S. L., Brook, R. H., Fox, C. R., Russell, M. M., Ko, C. Y., Maggard-Gibbons, M. n. 2016; 264 (6): 889–95


    The aim of this study was to determine whether exposure to data from a risk calculator influences surgeons' assessments of risk and in turn, their decisions to operate.Little is known about how risk calculators inform clinical judgment and decision-making.We asked a national sample of surgeons to assess the risks (probability of serious complications or death) and benefits (recovery) of operative and nonoperative management and to rate their likelihood of recommending an operation (5-point scale) for 4 detailed clinical vignettes wherein the best treatment strategy was uncertain. Surgeons were randomized to the clinical vignettes alone (control group; n = 384) or supplemented by data from a risk calculator (risk calculator group; n = 395). We compared surgeons' judgments and decisions between the groups.Surgeons exposed to the risk calculator judged levels of operative risk that more closely approximated the risk calculator value (RCV) compared with surgeons in the control group [mesenteric ischemia: 43.7% vs 64.6%, P < 0.001 (RCV = 25%); gastrointestinal bleed: 47.7% vs 53.4%, P < 0.001 (RCV = 38%); small bowel obstruction: 13.6% vs 17.5%, P < 0.001 (RCV = 14%); appendicitis: 13.4% vs 24.4%, P < 0.001 (RCV = 5%)]. Surgeons exposed to the risk calculator also varied less in their assessment of operative risk (standard deviations: mesenteric ischemia 20.2% vs 23.2%, P = 0.01; gastrointestinal bleed 17.4% vs 24.1%, P < 0.001; small bowel obstruction 10.6% vs 14.9%, P < 0.001; appendicitis 15.2% vs 21.8%, P < 0.001). However, averaged across the 4 vignettes, the 2 groups did not differ in their reported likelihood of recommending an operation (mean 3.7 vs 3.7, P = 0.76).Exposure to risk calculator data leads to less varied and more accurate judgments of operative risk among surgeons, and thus may help inform discussions of treatment options between surgeons and patients. Interestingly, it did not alter their reported likelihood of recommending an operation.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/SLA.0000000000001750

    View details for PubMedID 27192347

  • Mental Health Conditions Among Patients Seeking and Undergoing Bariatric Surgery: A Meta-analysis. JAMA Dawes, A. J., Maggard-Gibbons, M. n., Maher, A. R., Booth, M. J., Miake-Lye, I. n., Beroes, J. M., Shekelle, P. G. 2016; 315 (2): 150–63


    Bariatric surgery is associated with sustained weight loss and improved physical health status for severely obese individuals. Mental health conditions may be common among patients seeking bariatric surgery; however, the prevalence of these conditions and whether they are associated with postoperative outcomes remains unknown.To determine the prevalence of mental health conditions among bariatric surgery candidates and recipients, to evaluate the association between preoperative mental health conditions and health outcomes following bariatric surgery, and to evaluate the association between surgery and the clinical course of mental health conditions.We searched PubMed, MEDLINE on OVID, and PsycINFO for studies published between January 1988 and November 2015. Study quality was assessed using an adapted tool for risk of bias; quality of evidence was rated based on GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation) criteria.We identified 68 publications meeting inclusion criteria: 59 reporting the prevalence of preoperative mental health conditions (65,363 patients) and 27 reporting associations between preoperative mental health conditions and postoperative outcomes (50,182 patients). Among patients seeking and undergoing bariatric surgery, the most common mental health conditions, based on random-effects estimates of prevalence, were depression (19% [95% CI, 14%-25%]) and binge eating disorder (17% [95% CI, 13%-21%]). There was conflicting evidence regarding the association between preoperative mental health conditions and postoperative weight loss. Neither depression nor binge eating disorder was consistently associated with differences in weight outcomes. Bariatric surgery was, however, consistently associated with postoperative decreases in the prevalence of depression (7 studies; 8%-74% decrease) and the severity of depressive symptoms (6 studies; 40%-70% decrease).Mental health conditions are common among bariatric surgery patients-in particular, depression and binge eating disorder. There is inconsistent evidence regarding the association between preoperative mental health conditions and postoperative weight loss. Moderate-quality evidence supports an association between bariatric surgery and lower rates of depression postoperatively.

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jama.2015.18118

    View details for PubMedID 26757464

  • Reply to The long and winding road in cancer survivorship care. Cancer Dawes, A. J., Maggard-Gibbons, M. 2015; 121 (20): 3750

    View details for DOI 10.1002/cncr.29546

    View details for PubMedID 26138082

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4809240

  • Compliance With Evidence-Based Guidelines and Interhospital Variation in Mortality for Patients With Severe Traumatic Brain Injury JAMA SURGERY Dawes, A. J., Sacks, G. D., Cryer, H., Gruen, J., Preston, C., Gorospe, D., Cohen, M., McArthur, D. L., Russell, M. M., Maggard-Gibbons, M., Ko, C. Y., Los Angeles Cty Trauma Consortium 2015; 150 (10): 965–72


    Compliance with evidence-based guidelines in traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been proposed as a marker of hospital quality. However, the association between hospital-level compliance rates and risk-adjusted clinical outcomes for patients with TBI remains poorly understood.To examine whether hospital-level compliance with the Brain Trauma Foundation guidelines for intracranial pressure monitoring and craniotomy is associated with risk-adjusted mortality rates for patients with severe TBI.All adult patients (N = 734) who presented to a regional consortium of 14 hospitals from January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2010, with severe TBI (ie, blunt head trauma, Glasgow Coma Scale score of <9, and abnormal intracranial findings from computed tomography of the head). Data analysis took place from December 2013 through January 2015. We used hierarchical mixed-effects models to assess the association between hospital-level compliance with Brain Trauma Foundation guidelines and mortality rates after adjusting for patient-level demographics, severity of trauma (eg, mechanism of injury and Injury Severity Score), and TBI-specific variables (eg, cranial nerve reflexes and findings from computed tomography of the head).Hospital-level risk-adjusted inpatient mortality rate and hospital-level compliance with Brain Trauma Foundation guidelines for intracranial pressure monitoring and craniotomy.Unadjusted mortality rates varied by site from 20.0% to 50.0% (median, 42.6; interquartile range, 35.5-46.2); risk-adjusted rates varied from 24.3% to 56.7% (median, 41.1; interquartile range, 36.4-47.8). Overall, only 338 of 734 patients (46.1%) with an appropriate indication underwent placement of an intracranial pressure monitor and only 134 of 335 (45.6%) underwent craniotomy. Hospital-level compliance ranged from 9.6% to 65.2% for intracranial pressure monitoring and 6.7% to 76.2% for craniotomy. Despite widespread variation in compliance across hospitals, we found no association between hospital-level compliance rates and risk-adjusted patient outcomes (Spearman ρ = 0.030 [P = .92] for ICP monitoring and Spearman ρ = -0.066 [P = .83] for craniotomy).Hospital-level compliance with evidence-based guidelines has minimal association with risk-adjusted outcomes in patients with severe TBI. Our results suggest that caution should be taken before using compliance with these measures as independent quality metrics. Given the complexity of TBI care, outcomes-based metrics, including functional recovery, may be more accurate than current process measures at determining hospital quality.

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jamasurg.2015.1678

    View details for Web of Science ID 000367585200010

    View details for PubMedID 26200744

  • Relationship Between Hospital Performance on a Patient Satisfaction Survey and Surgical Quality JAMA SURGERY Sacks, G. D., Lawson, E. H., Dawes, A. J., Russell, M. M., Maggard-Gibbons, M., Zingmond, D. S., Ko, C. Y. 2015; 150 (9): 858–64


    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services include patient experience as a core component of its Value-Based Purchasing program, which ties financial incentives to hospital performance on a range of quality measures. However, it remains unclear whether patient satisfaction is an accurate marker of high-quality surgical care.To determine whether hospital performance on a patient satisfaction survey is associated with objective measures of surgical quality.Retrospective observational study of participating American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Project (ACS NSQIP) hospitals. We used data from a linked database of Medicare inpatient claims, ACS NSQIP, the American Hospital Association annual survey, and Hospital Compare from December 2, 2004, through December 31, 2008. A total of 103 866 patients older than 65 years undergoing inpatient surgery were included. Hospitals were grouped by quartile based on their performance on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey. Controlling for preoperative risk factors, we created hierarchical logistic regression models to predict the occurrence of adverse postoperative outcomes based on a hospital's patient satisfaction scores.Thirty-day postoperative mortality, major and minor complications, failure to rescue, and hospital readmission.Of the 180 hospitals, the overall mean patient satisfaction score was 68.0% (first quartile mean, 58.7%; fourth quartile mean, 76.7%). Compared with patients treated at hospitals in the lowest quartile, those at the highest quartile had significantly lower risk-adjusted odds of death (odds ratio = 0.85; 95% CI, 0.73-0.99), failure to rescue (odds ratio = 0.82; 95% CI, 0.70-0.96), and minor complication (odds ratio = 0.87; 95% CI, 0.75-0.99). This translated to relative risk reductions of 11.1% (P = .04), 12.6% (P = .02), and 11.5% (P = .04), respectively. No significant relationship was noted between patient satisfaction and either major complication or hospital readmission.Using a national sample of hospitals, we demonstrated a significant association between patient satisfaction scores and several objective measures of surgical quality. Our findings suggest that payment policies that incentivize better patient experience do not require hospitals to sacrifice performance on other quality measures.

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jamasurg.2015.1108

    View details for Web of Science ID 000367584100008

    View details for PubMedID 26108091

  • Wrong-Site Surgery, Retained Surgical Items, and Surgical Fires A Systematic Review of Surgical Never Events JAMA SURGERY Hempel, S., Maggard-Gibbons, M., Nguyen, D. K., Dawes, A. J., Miake-Lye, I., Beroes, J. M., Booth, M. J., Miles, J. V., Shanman, R., Shekelle, P. G. 2015; 150 (8): 796–805


    Serious, preventable surgical events, termed never events, continue to occur despite considerable patient safety efforts.To examine the incidence and root causes of and interventions to prevent wrong-site surgery, retained surgical items, and surgical fires in the era after the implementation of the Universal Protocol in 2004.We searched 9 electronic databases for entries from 2004 through June 30, 2014, screened references, and consulted experts.Two independent reviewers identified relevant publications in June 2014.One reviewer used a standardized form to extract data and a second reviewer checked the data. Strength of evidence was established by the review team. Data extraction was completed in January 2015.Incidence of wrong-site surgery, retained surgical items, and surgical fires.We found 138 empirical studies that met our inclusion criteria. Incidence estimates for wrong-site surgery in US settings varied by data source and procedure (median estimate, 0.09 events per 10,000 surgical procedures). The median estimate for retained surgical items was 1.32 events per 10,000 procedures, but estimates varied by item and procedure. The per-procedure surgical fire incidence is unknown. A frequently reported root cause was inadequate communication. Methodologic challenges associated with investigating changes in rare events limit the conclusions of 78 intervention evaluations. Limited evidence supported the Universal Protocol (5 studies), education (4 studies), and team training (4 studies) interventions to prevent wrong-site surgery. Limited evidence exists to prevent retained surgical items by using data-matrix-coded sponge-counting systems (5 pertinent studies). Evidence for preventing surgical fires was insufficient, and intervention effects were not estimable.Current estimates for wrong-site surgery and retained surgical items are 1 event per 100,000 and 1 event per 10,000 procedures, respectively, but the precision is uncertain, and the per-procedure prevalence of surgical fires is not known. Root-cause analyses suggest the need for improved communication. Despite promising approaches and global Universal Protocol evaluations, empirical evidence for interventions is limited.

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jamasurg.2015.0301

    View details for Web of Science ID 000361058000023

    View details for PubMedID 26061125

  • Teamwork, communication and safety climate: a systematic review of interventions to improve surgical culture BMJ QUALITY & SAFETY Sacks, G. D., Shannon, E. M., Dawes, A. J., Rollo, J. C., Nguyen, D. K., Russell, M. M., Ko, C. Y., Maggard-Gibbons, M. A. 2015; 24 (7): 458–67


    To define the target domains of culture-improvement interventions, to assess the impact of these interventions on surgical culture and to determine whether culture improvements lead to better patient outcomes and improved healthcare efficiency.Healthcare systems are investing considerable resources in improving workplace culture. It remains unclear whether these interventions, when aimed at surgical care, are successful and whether they are associated with changes in patient outcomes.PubMed, Cochrane, Web of Science and Scopus databases were searched from January 1980 to January 2015. We included studies on interventions that aimed to improve surgical culture, defined as the interpersonal, social and organisational factors that affect the healthcare environment and patient care. The quality of studies was assessed using an adapted tool to focus the review on higher-quality studies. Due to study heterogeneity, findings were narratively reviewed.The 47 studies meeting inclusion criteria (4 randomised trials and 10 moderate-quality observational studies) reported on interventions that targeted three domains of culture: teamwork (n=28), communication (n=26) and safety climate (n=19); several targeted more than one domain. All moderate-quality studies showed improvements in at least one of these domains. Two studies also demonstrated improvements in patient outcomes, such as reduced postoperative complications and even reduced postoperative mortality (absolute risk reduction 1.7%). Two studies reported improvements in healthcare efficiency, including fewer operating room delays. These findings were supported by similar results from low-quality studies.The literature provides promising evidence for various strategies to improve surgical culture, although these approaches differ in terms of the interventions employed as well as the techniques used to measure culture. Nevertheless, culture improvement appears to be associated with other positive effects, including better patient outcomes and enhanced healthcare efficiency.CRD42013005987.

    View details for DOI 10.1136/bmjqs-2014-003764

    View details for Web of Science ID 000356543000012

    View details for PubMedID 26002946

  • Which Patients Require More Care after Hospital Discharge? An Analysis of Post-Acute Care Use among Elderly Patients Undergoing Elective Surgery JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SURGEONS Sacks, G. D., Lawson, E. H., Dawes, A. J., Gibbons, M. M., Zingmond, D. S., Ko, C. Y. 2015; 220 (6): 1113–U198


    The use of post-acute care is common among the elderly and accounts for $62 billion in annual Medicare expenditures. However, little is known about post-acute care use after surgery.Data were merged between the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) and Medicare claims for 2005 to 2008. Post-acute care use, including skilled nursing facilities (SNF), inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRF), and home health care (HHC) were analyzed for 3 operations: colectomy, pancreatectomy, and open abdominal aortic aneurysm repair. Controlling for both preoperative risk factors and the occurrence of postoperative complications, we used multinomial logistic regression to estimate the odds of use for each type of post-acute care after elective surgery compared with home discharge.Post-acute care was used frequently for patients undergoing colectomy (40.0%; total n=10,932), pancreatectomy (46.0%; total n=2,144), and open abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair (44.9%; total n=1,736). Home health was the most frequently reported post-acute care service for each operation (range 23.2% to 31.5%) followed by SNF (range 12.0% to 15.0%), and then by IRF (range 2.5% to 5.4%). The majority of patients with at least 1 inpatient complication were discharged to post-acute care (range 58.6% for open AAA repair to 64.4% for colectomy). In multivariable analysis, specific preoperative risk factors, including advanced age, poor functional status, and inpatient complications were significantly associated with increased risk-adjusted odds of discharge to post-acute care for each operation studied.Among elderly patients, post-acute care use is frequent after surgery and is significantly associated with several preoperative risk factors and postoperative inpatient complications. Further work is needed to ensure that post-acute care services are used appropriately and cost-effectively.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2015.02.029

    View details for Web of Science ID 000354826900027

    View details for PubMedID 25872686

  • Clinical registries and quality measurement in surgery: A systematic review SURGERY Stey, A. M., Russell, M. M., Ko, C. Y., Sacks, G. D., Dawes, A. J., Gibbons, M. M. 2015; 157 (2): 381–95


    Surgical clinical registries provide clinical information with the intent of measuring and improving quality. This study aimed to describe how surgical clinical registries have been used to measure surgical quality, the reported findings, and the limitations of registry measurements.Medline, CINAHL, and Cochrane were queried for English articles with the terms: "registry AND surgery AND quality." Eligibility criteria were studies explicitly assessing quality measurement with registries as the primary data source. Studies were abstracted to identify registries, define registry structure, uses for quality measurement, and limitations of the measurements used.A total of 111 studies of 18 registries were identified for data abstraction. Two registries were financed privately, and 5 registries were financed by a governmental organization. Across registries, the most common uses of process measures were for monitoring providers and as platforms for quality improvement initiatives. The most common uses of outcome measures were to improve quality modeling and to identify preoperative risk factors for poor outcomes. Eight studies noted improvements in risk-adjusted mortality with registry participation; one found no change. A major limitation is bias from context and means of data collection threatening internal validity of registry quality measurement. Conversely, the other major limitation is the cost of participation, which threatens the external validity of registry quality measurement.Clinical registries have advanced surgical quality definition, measurement, and modeling as well as having served as platforms for local initiatives for quality improvement. The implication of this finding is that subsidizing registry participation may improve data validity as well as engage providers in quality improvement.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.surg.2014.08.097

    View details for Web of Science ID 000348971800025

    View details for PubMedID 25616951

  • Are primary care providers prepared to care for survivors of breast cancer in the safety net? Cancer Dawes, A. J., Hemmelgarn, M. n., Nguyen, D. K., Sacks, G. D., Clayton, S. M., Cope, J. R., Ganz, P. A., Maggard-Gibbons, M. n. 2015; 121 (8): 1249–56


    With the growing number of survivors of breast cancer outpacing the capacity of oncology providers, there is pressure to transition patients back to primary care. Primary care providers (PCPs) working in safety-net settings may have less experience treating survivors, and little is known about their knowledge and views on survivorship care. The current study was performed to determine the knowledge, attitudes, and confidence of PCPs in the safety net at delivering care to survivors of breast cancer.A modified version of the National Cancer Institute's Survey of Physician Attitudes Regarding Care of Cancer Survivors was given to providers at 2 county hospitals and 5 associated clinics (59 providers). Focus groups were held to understand barriers to survivorship care.Although the majority of providers believed PCPs have the skills necessary to provide cancer-related follow-up, the vast majority were not comfortable providing these services themselves. Providers were adherent to American Society of Clinical Oncology recommendations for mammography (98%) and physical examination (87%); less than one-third were guideline-concordant for laboratory testing and only 6 providers (10%) met all recommendations. PCPs universally requested additional training on clinical guidelines and the provision of written survivorship care plans before transfer. Concerns voiced in qualitative sessions included unfamiliarity with the management of endocrine therapy and confusion regarding who would be responsible for certain aspects of care.Safety-net providers currently lack knowledge of and confidence in providing survivorship care to patients with breast cancer. Opportunities exist for additional training in evidence-based guidelines and improved coordination of care between PCPs and oncology specialists.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/cncr.29201

    View details for PubMedID 25536301

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4393343

  • Intracranial pressure monitoring and inpatient mortality in severe traumatic brain injury: A propensity score-matched analysis. The journal of trauma and acute care surgery Dawes, A. J., Sacks, G. D., Cryer, H. G., Gruen, J. P., Preston, C. n., Gorospe, D. n., Cohen, M. n., McArthur, D. L., Russell, M. M., Maggard-Gibbons, M. n., Ko, C. Y. 2015; 78 (3): 492–501; discussion 501–02


    Although intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring in severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is recommended by the Brain Trauma Foundation, the benefits remain controversial. We sought to determine the impact of ICP monitor placement on inpatient mortality within a regional trauma system after correcting for selection bias through propensity score matching.Data were collected on all severe TBI cases presenting to 14 trauma centers during the 2-year study period (2009-2010). Inclusion criteria were as follows: blunt injury, Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of 8 or lower in the emergency department, and abnormal intracranial findings on head computed tomography (CT). Two separate multivariate logistic regression models were used to predict ICP monitor placement and inpatient mortality after controlling for demographics, severity of injury, comorbidities, and TBI-specific variables (GCS score, pupil reactivity, international normalized ratio, and nine specific head CT findings). To account for selection bias, we developed a propensity score-matched model to estimate the "true" effect of ICP monitoring on in-hospital mortality.A total of 844 patients met inclusion criteria; 22 died on arrival to the emergency department. Inpatient mortality was 38.8%; 46.0% of the patients underwent ICP monitor placement. Unadjusted mortality rates were significantly lower in the ICP monitoring group (30.7% vs. 45.7%, p < 0.001). ICP monitor placement was positively associated with CT findings of subdural hematoma, intraparenchymal contusion, and mass effect and negatively associated with age, alcoholism, and elevated international normalized ratio. After adjusting for selection bias via propensity score matching, ICP monitor placement was associated with an 8.3 percentage point reduction in the risk-adjusted mortality rate.ICP monitor placement occurred in only 46% of eligible patients but was associated with significantly decreased mortality after adjusting for baseline risk profile and the propensity to undergo monitoring. As the individual impact of ICP monitoring may vary, future efforts must determine who stands to benefit from invasive monitoring techniques.Therapeutic/care management study, level III.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/TA.0000000000000559

    View details for PubMedID 25710418

  • Bariatric surgery is associated with improved long-term survival in severely obese US veterans. Evidence-based medicine Maggard-Gibbons, M. n., Dawes, A. J. 2015; 20 (4): 148

    View details for DOI 10.1136/ebmed-2015-110181

    View details for PubMedID 26088058

  • Cost effectiveness of nonoperative management versus laparoscopic appendectomy for acute uncomplicated appendicitis. Surgery Wu, J. X., Dawes, A. J., Sacks, G. D., Brunicardi, F. C., Keeler, E. B. 2015; 158 (3): 712–21


    Appendectomy remains the gold standard in the treatment of acute, uncomplicated appendicitis in the United States. Nonetheless, there is growing evidence that nonoperative management is safe and efficacious.We constructed a decision tree to compare nonoperative management of appendicitis with laparoscopic appendectomy in otherwise healthy adults. Model variables were abstracted from a literature review, data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project data, the Medicare Physician Fee schedule, and the American College of Surgeons Surgical Risk Calculator. Uncertainty surrounding parameters of the model was assessed via 1-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses.Operative management cost $12,213 per patient. Nonoperative management without interval appendectomy (IA) was the dominant strategy, costing $1,865 less and producing 0.03 more quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs). Nonoperative management with IA cost $4,271 more than operative management, but yielded only 0.01 additional QALY. One-way sensitivity analysis suggested operative management would become the preferred strategy if the recurrence rate was >40.5% or the total cost of appendectomy was decreased to <$5,468. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis confirmed nonoperative management without IA was the preferred strategy in 95.6% of cases.Nonoperative management without IA is the least costly, most effective treatment for acute, uncomplicated appendicitis and warrants further evaluation in a disease thought to be definitively surgical.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.surg.2015.06.021

    View details for PubMedID 26195106

  • The Role of Surgery in the Clinical Management of Primary Gastrointestinal Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The American surgeon MacQueen, I. T., Shannon, E. M., Dawes, A. J., Ostrzega, N. n., Russell, M. M., Maggard-Gibbons, M. n. 2015; 81 (10): 988–94


    Primary gastrointestinal non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (PGINHL) is a heterogeneous family of tumors, with treatment modalities including chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy. Because the role of surgery in PGINHL remains disputed, this study aims to assess the impact of operative resection on survival. We used a pathology database to identify all cases of PGINHL diagnosed at a single academic-affiliated medical center from 1988 to 2013. Demographic and clinical data were abstracted from the medical record. We summarized the clinical courses of patients with PGINHL and then performed a survival analysis to compare overall and disease-free survival, stratified by demographic and clinical variables. We identified 33 patients diagnosed with PGINHL during the study period. Of 29 who subsequently received treatment at the institution, 15 initially underwent chemotherapy, 10 underwent surgical resection, and 4 underwent surgery for other reasons such as diagnosis without resection or management of disease complications. Three patients suffered surgical complications and two of these patients died. We found no difference in overall survival between patients receiving surgical resection and patients managed initially with chemotherapy. This case series supports a continued role for surgical resection in the management of patients with PGINHL, though anticipated benefits should be weighed against the risk of complications.

    View details for PubMedID 26463295

  • Wireless Technology to Track Surgical Patients after Discharge: A Pilot Study. The American surgeon Dawes, A. J., Reardon, S. n., Chen, V. L., Kaiser, W. n., Russell, M. M., Ko, C. Y., Lin, A. Y. 2015; 81 (10): 1061–66


    Failure to detect changes in patients' postoperative health status increases the risk of adverse outcomes, including complications and readmission. We sought to design and implement a real-time surveillance system for postoperative colorectal surgery patients using wireless health technology. Participants were assigned a preprogrammed tablet computer during their inpatient hospitalization, and asked to complete a daily survey regarding their postoperative health status until their first clinic visit. Surveys were transmitted wirelessly to a secure database for review. As a pilot study, we report on our first 20 consecutively enrolled patients, monitored for 265 patient days. Overall compliance was 63 per cent (data available for 166 of the 265 days), but varied by patient from 26 to 100 per cent. We were able to reliably collect basic data on postoperative health status as well as patient-reported outcomes not previously captured by standard assessment techniques. Qualitative data suggest that the experience strengthened patients' relationship with their surgeon and aided in their recovery. Postoperative remote monitoring is feasible, and provides more detailed and complete information to the clinical team. Wireless health technology represents an opportunity to close the information gap between discharge and first clinic visit, and, eventually, to improve patient-provider communication, increase patient satisfaction, and prevent unnecessary readmissions.

    View details for PubMedID 26463309

  • Use of a Hospital-Wide Screening Program for Early Detection of Sepsis in General Surgery Patients. The American surgeon MacQueen, I. T., Dawes, A. J., Hadnott, T. n., Strength, K. n., Moran, G. J., Holschneider, C. n., Russell, M. M., Maggard-Gibbons, M. n. 2015; 81 (10): 1074–79


    Sepsis remains a significant source of mortality among hospitalized patients. This study examines the usage of a vital sign-based screening protocol in identifying postoperative patients at risk for sepsis at an academic-affiliated medical center. We identified all general surgery inpatients undergoing abdominopelvic surgery from January to June 2014, and compared those with positive screening tests to a sample of screen-negative controls. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify predictors of positive screening tests and progression to severe sepsis. In total, 478 patients underwent abdominopelvic operations, 59 had positive screening tests, 33 qualified for sepsis, and six progressed to severe sepsis. Predictors of a positive screening test were presence of cancer [odds ratio (OR) 30.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.2-420], emergency operation (OR 6.5, 95% CI 1.7-24), longer operative time (OR 2.2/h, 95% CI 1.2-4.1), and presence of postoperative infection (OR 6.4, 95% CI 1.5-27). The screening protocol had sensitivity 100 per cent and specificity 88 per cent for severe sepsis. We identified no predictors of severe sepsis. In conclusion, vital sign-based screening provides value by drawing early attention to patients with potential to develop sepsis, but escalation of care for these patients should be based on clinical judgment.

    View details for PubMedID 26463311

  • The Impact of Continuous Medicaid Enrollment on Diagnosis, Treatment, and Survival in Six Surgical Cancers HEALTH SERVICES RESEARCH Dawes, A. J., Louie, R., Nguyen, D. K., Maggard-Gibbons, M., Parikh, P., Ettner, S. L., Ko, C. Y., Zingmond, D. S. 2014; 49 (6): 1787–1811


    To examine the effect of Medicaid enrollment on the diagnosis, treatment, and survival of six surgically relevant cancers among poor and underserved Californians.California Cancer Registry (CCR), California's Patient Discharge Database (PDD), and state Medicaid enrollment files between 2002 and 2008.We linked clinical and administrative records to differentiate patients continuously enrolled in Medicaid from those receiving coverage at the time of their cancer diagnosis. We developed multivariate logistic regression models to predict death within 1 year for each cancer after controlling for sociodemographic and clinical variables.All incident cases of six cancers (colon, esophageal, lung, pancreas, stomach, and ovarian) were identified from CCR. CCR records were linked to hospitalizations (PDD) and monthly Medicaid enrollment.Continuous enrollment in Medicaid for at least 6 months prior to diagnosis improves survival in three surgically relevant cancers. Discontinuous Medicaid patients have higher stage tumors, undergo fewer definitive operations, and are more likely to die even after risk adjustment.Expansion of continuous insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act is likely to improve both access and clinical outcomes for cancer patients in California.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/1475-6773.12237

    View details for Web of Science ID 000345346300006

    View details for PubMedID 25256223

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4254125

  • Preventable Readmissions to Surgical Services: Lessons Learned and Targets for Improvement JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SURGEONS Dawes, A. J., Sacks, G. D., Russell, M. M., Lin, A. Y., Maggard-Gibbons, M., Winograd, D., Chung, H. R., Tillou, A., Hiatt, J. R., Ko, C. 2014; 219 (3): 382–89


    Hospital readmissions are under intense scrutiny as a measure of health care quality. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed using readmission rates as a benchmark for improving care, including targeting them as nonreimbursable events. Our study aim was to describe potentially preventable readmissions after surgery and to identify targets for improvement.Patients discharged from a general surgery service over 8 consecutive quarters (Q4 2009 to Q3 2011) were selected. A working group of attending surgeons defined terms and created classification schemes. Thirty-day readmissions were identified and reviewed by a 2-physician team. Readmissions were categorized as preventable or unpreventable, and by target for future quality improvement intervention.Overall readmission rate was 8.3% (315 of 3,789). The most common indication for initial admission was elective general surgery. Among readmitted patients in our sample, 28% did not undergo an operation during their index admission. Only 21% (55 of 258) of readmissions were likely preventable based on medical record review. Of the preventable readmissions, 38% of patients were discharged within 24 hours and 60% within 48 hours. Dehydration occurred more frequently among preventable readmissions (p < 0.001). Infection accounted for more than one-third of all readmissions. Among preventable readmissions, targets for improvement included closer follow-up after discharge (49%), management in the outpatient setting (42%), and avoidance of premature discharge (9%).A minority of readmissions may potentially be preventable. Targets for reducing readmissions include addressing the clinical issues of infection and dehydration as well as improving discharge planning to limit both early and short readmissions. Policies aimed at penalizing reimbursements based on readmission rates should use clinical data to focus on inappropriate hospitalization in order to promote high quality patient care.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2014.03.046

    View details for Web of Science ID 000341415100009

    View details for PubMedID 24891209

  • Evaluation of Hospital Readmissions in Surgical Patients Do Administrative Data Tell the Real Story? JAMA SURGERY Sacks, G. D., Dawes, A. J., Russell, M. M., Lin, A. Y., Maggard-Gibbons, M., Winograd, D., Chung, H. R., Tomlinson, J., Tillou, A., Shew, S. B., Hiyama, D. T., Cryer, H. G., Brunicardi, F. C., Hiatt, J. R., Ko, C. 2014; 149 (8): 759-764


    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has developed an all-cause readmission measure that uses administrative data to measure readmission rates and financially penalize hospitals with higher-than-expected readmission rates.To examine the accuracy of administrative codes in determining the cause of readmission as determined by medical record review, to evaluate the readmission measure's ability to accurately identify a readmission as planned, and to document the frequency of readmissions for reasons clinically unrelated to the original hospital stay.Retrospective review of all consecutive patients discharged from general surgery services at a tertiary care, university-affiliated teaching hospital during 8 consecutive quarters (quarter 4 [October through December] of 2009 through quarter 3 [July through September] of 2011). Clinical readmission diagnosis determined from direct medical record review was compared with the administrative diagnosis recorded in a claims database. The number of planned hospital readmissions defined by the readmission measure was compared with the number identified using clinical data. Readmissions unrelated to the original hospital stay were identified using clinical data.Discordance rate between administrative and clinical diagnoses for all hospital readmissions, discrepancy between planned readmissions defined by the readmission measure and identified by clinical medical record review, and fraction of hospital readmissions unrelated to the original hospital stay.Of the 315 hospital readmissions, the readmission diagnosis listed in the administrative claims data differed from the clinical diagnosis in 97 readmissions (30.8%). The readmission measure identified 15 readmissions (4.8%) as planned, whereas clinical data identified 43 readmissions (13.7%) as planned. Unrelated readmissions comprised 70 of the 258 unplanned readmissions (27.1%).Administrative billing data, as used by the readmission measure, do not reliably describe the reason for readmission. The readmission measure accounts for less than half of the planned readmissions and does not account for the nearly one-third of readmissions unrelated to the original hospital stay. Implementation of this readmission measure may result in unwarranted financial penalties for hospitals.

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jamasurg.2014.18

    View details for Web of Science ID 000340834300002

    View details for PubMedID 24920156

  • Existing general population models inaccurately predict lung cancer risk in patients referred for surgical evaluation. The Annals of thoracic surgery Isbell, J. M., Deppen, S., Putnam, J. B., Nesbitt, J. C., Lambright, E. S., Dawes, A., Massion, P. P., Speroff, T., Jones, D. R., Grogan, E. L. 2011; 91 (1): 227-33; discussion 233


    Patients undergoing resections for suspicious pulmonary lesions have a 9% to 55% benign rate. Validated prediction models exist to estimate the probability of malignancy in a general population and current practice guidelines recommend their use. We evaluated these models in a surgical population to determine the accuracy of existing models to predict benign or malignant disease.We conducted a retrospective review of our thoracic surgery quality improvement database (2005 to 2008) to identify patients who underwent resection of a pulmonary lesion. Patients were stratified into subgroups based on age, smoking status, and fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (PET) results. The probability of malignancy was calculated for each patient using the Mayo and solitary pulmonary nodules prediction models. Receiver operating characteristic and calibration curves were used to measure model performance.A total of 189 patients met selection criteria; 73% were malignant. Patients with preoperative PET scans were divided into four subgroups based on age, smoking history, and nodule PET avidity. Older smokers with PET-avid lesions had a 90% malignancy rate. Patients with PET-nonavid lesions, PET-avid lesions with age less than 50 years, or never smokers of any age had a 62% malignancy rate. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the Mayo and solitary pulmonary nodules models was 0.79 and 0.80, respectively; however, the models were poorly calibrated (p<0.001).Despite improvements in diagnostic and imaging techniques, current general population models do not accurately predict lung cancer among patients referred for surgical evaluation. Prediction models with greater accuracy are needed to identify patients with benign disease to reduce nontherapeutic resections.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2010.08.054

    View details for PubMedID 21172518

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3748597