Press Release

The American College of Surgeons, American Institutes for Research, and Westat Partner with VisionTree to Pilot New Surgical Patient Survey using the Web

April 29, 2008

In an effort to collect information about the experiences of surgical patients quickly and easily, the American College of Surgeons (ACS), along with the American Institutes of Research (AIR) and Westat, announced today that it will partner with VisionTree, the leader in web-based, patient-centered, health record management and provider communication systems, as part of a field test of a new surgical patient survey using the Vision Tree Optimal Care (VTOC) platform. Under contract to ACS, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and Westat are developing this survey and will be conducting the national pilot test.

The ACS survey, a project initiated by members of the Surgical Quality Alliance, collects information from patients who have recently undergone surgery about their experience of care. It will provide information to surgeons and their practices that can be used to inform and enhance quality improvement efforts. In addition, results may be used for maintenance of certification and to help guide consumer choice. This instrument will be submitted to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) consortium for certification as a CAHPS product. Other CAHPS products include the CAHPS Hospital Survey (H-CAHPS), considered the benchmark for the consumer definition of quality hospital care, which provides a national standard for collecting and publicly reporting this information and enables valid comparisons to be made across all hospitals.

Part of the ACS pilot study will be conducted at select VisionTree sites with surgical specialties. VisionTree's HIPAA-compliant VTOC platform will administer the survey in a Web-based format with three patient email reminders. This will allow patients to complete the survey from the comfort of their homes or any internet-accessible location. By using VTOC, ACS hopes to improve survey completion rates over traditional paper surveys, evaluate factors related to survey completion on the Web, and access the data for analysis in real-time.

The VTOC platform is easy-to-use and allows patients to view educational information, clinical results and imaging, as well as build and store their personal health record, meeting CCR guidelines. Medical providers can access patient-completed data in real time, securely communicate with their patients and view aggregate outcomes data reports from their smartphone or any location with internet access.

"The patient's experience of care is a key component of health care quality. Surgical care differs from care of patients with chronic illnesses in several ways. Our patient survey will capture a more accurate profile of the surgical patient's experience than existing CAHPS surveys. With more surgeons and patients using the Internet to exchange information, we are very interested in testing a web-based technology for administering the new survey. The VTOC system provides a way to complete the survey that is timely, accurate, and efficient."

Elizabeth Hoy
Assistant Director of Regulatory Affairs and Quality Improvement, American College of Surgeons

"We are honored to have been chosen by the American College of Surgeons to implement part of the field test for this important survey. Collecting data is important in all aspects of patient care and the VTOC system enables providers and medical societies to capture information from patients in an efficient and effective way."

Martin Pellinat
CEO of Visiontree

About the American College of Surgeons

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to improve the quality of care for the surgical patient by setting high standards for surgical education and practice. The College currently has over 73,000 members, including more than 4,000 Fellows in other countries, making it the largest organization of surgeons in the world.

About the American Institutes for Research® (AIR®)

The American Institutes for Research (AIR) has been in business since 1946 and it is one of the largest behavioral, social, and health science research firms in the world. AIR is an independent, not-for-profit corporation that undertakes basic and applied research and provides technical support to government agencies, foundations, and private corporations. A distinguishing characteristic of AIR is its multidisciplinary problem-solving capability. AIR employs over 1,200 people, most of whom hold advanced degrees, and it has offices around the country and abroad. By placing a high value on responsiveness, product quality, and timeliness, AIR has earned a reputation for conducting work that routinely exceeds its client's needs.

About Westat

Westat is an employee-owned research corporation serving agencies of the U.S. Government, as well as businesses, foundations, and state and local governments. In addition to their capabilities as a leading statistical survey research organization, Westat has developed skills and experience in custom research and program evaluation studies across a broad range of subject areas. Westat also has the technical expertise in survey and analytical methods, computer systems technology, biomedical science, and clinical trials to sustain a leadership position in all their research endeavors.


About Visiontree®

Visiontree Software, Inc., a Brainlab company, is a leader in cloud-based, patient-centered health electronic medical records, communication and population health data management systems. The Visiontree Optimal Care (VTOC) outcomes platform is MACRA compliant as a modular EHR and implemented at over 600 sites with 2.5M+ patient records in 15+ languages.

The VTOC platform is used for multi-center research, registries and population health initiatives across multiple domains. Visiontree's customer base consists of leading academic and community centers, research organizations and medical societies globally including 17 of the top 20 U.S. News and World Report hospitals.