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Hartford Hospital Joins National Hernia Surgery Database

December 02, 2022

Hartford Hospital’s Hernia Center has joined the Abdominal Core Health Quality Collaborative (ACHQC), a nonprofit collaborative focused on maximizing quality and value of care delivered to patients with hernias and other abdominal core diseases.

The Collaborative collects and aggregates health information, including long-term follow up data and patient reported outcomes. Its mission is to improve outcomes and value in abdominal core and hernia patient care. Through data collection, analysis and collaborative learning, the ACHQC provides best practices, decision support, care pathways and ongoing performance feedback to participants and partners.

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Chike Chukwumah, MD, a general surgeon based at Hartford Hospital, is director of the Hernia Center there. He said that while the program has been tracking patient outcomes for many years internally, this is the first time they have worked with a national database. They started uploading data to ACHQC in August.

“We take a holistic view of abdominal core health, and not just of the hernia itself,” Chukwumah said. “We monitor the impact the hernia has or had on a patient’s health and what the effects the hernia repair has on their overall core health. It’s what sets us apart as an institution.”

Each hernia surgery patient is tracked for three years following their initial appointment, said Dwayne Greco, business systems analyst for Hartford Region General Surgery. This allows the healthcare providers to understand their patients’ quality of life prior to treatment, during treatment, and then well after treatment is completed.

> Related: Still Waiting for Your Hernia to Go Away on Its Own? 5 Hernia Myths Debunked

“When we are able to quantify patient goals with patient outcomes, by tracking such things as how they do their daily activities or if they have any pain or recurrence, we are able to identify what’s working in the program, and areas that might need improvement,” Greco said.

“We don’t just have a feeling that we are doing a good job,” he said. “We have the data and the metrics to prove it.”

Being added to the ACHQC collaborative in itself is an achievement, Chukwumah said, because there is an application process and each program must be accepted. It took a year of work to be added to the collaborative. He noted that patients are not identified within the database, so confidentiality is maintained.

“My first hope in being part of this collaborative is that it will validate that we have clinical excellence,” Chukwumah said. “I know that will happen. My second hope is that it will help us easily identify areas where we can improve, and we will make those improvements. There is a direct benefit for patients.”

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The hernia specialists at Hartford HealthCare work together to provide safe, effective hernia repair personalized for your specific needs. If you have been diagnosed with a hernia by your provider and advised to consider surgery, we are here to help.

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