Measuring and Improving the Quality of Care of Global Outreach Trips: A Primer for Safe and Sustainable Surgery

Journal:

The Journal of Hand Surgery

Author(s):

James Chang

Additional Authors:
Topic(s):
Training and Education
Training and capacity building
Education
Quality Improvement
OPEN PUBLICATION
Trauma is the leading cause of mortality in patients aged 5 years and older. Globally, trauma kills more people than malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDs combined. As the number of surgical outreach trips to low- and middle-income countries and resources provided for such trips increase, hand surgeons are uniquely positioned to address this global burden. However, the delivery of surgical care alone is insufficient without effectively evaluating the quality of care delivered. It is critical that the care provided on outreach trips improves patient and population health, does not harm patients, and develops the local health care ecosystem. An estimated 8 million lives could be saved annually in low- and middle-income countries with higher-quality health systems. Currently, data collection systems for evaluating quality during outreach trips are lacking. Insight into current methods of quality assessment and improvement in both developing and developed countries can help inform future efforts to implement innovative data collection systems. Thoughtful and sustainable collaboration with host sites in low- and middle-income countries can ensure that care delivery is culturally competent and improves population health.