Statewide collaboration looks at operating room processes for ways to improve patient safety, quality and outcomes

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and nine hospitals across the state share data to improve surgical care

October 5, 2011

DETROIT — Building upon an award-winning partnership program that improves the quality of care in other medical areas, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and nine hospitals throughout the state have launched a new quality improvement initiative aimed at improving patient safety, quality and outcomes for thousands of surgical patients in Michigan.

Through this initiative hospitals are collecting information about surgical processes to analyze what is most effective in achieving the best outcomes for patients. This is the first such initiative to analyze how the processes surrounding a surgical procedure could contribute to improved outcomes, lower cost and fewer complications.

For example, participating hospitals are reviewing processes that are done prior to and during surgery, such as preparing the surgical site, antiseptic preparations, how the patient is positioned on the operating table, timelines between preparation and start of the procedure, and surgical staffing levels.

“We’ve been able to find that if you have a lot of staffing changes during the procedure, then the procedure may take longer and there may be higher risks for complications,” says AkkeNeel Talsma, Ph.D., project director. “We hope to put these kinds of findings together and come up with solutions, such as alternative staffing models.”

In addition to studying surgical processes, participating hospitals will share data and test new processes to develop better systems of care. This sharing of data is one of the key elements that has improved care in other collaborative quality initiatives facilitated by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

“Collaborative Quality Initiatives, the term given to the 10 payer-hospital initiatives aimed at improving safety and quality of specific surgical procedures and clinical practices, have been shown to outpace the positive results of alternative approaches to hospital quality improvement in other nationally known programs. We hope to see the same success in this new program,” says David Share, M.D., M.P.H., vice president, Value Partnerships, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

The nine hospitals currently participating in the operating room processes initiative (formally called the Perioperative Outcomes Initiative) are:

  • Covenant Medical Center, Saginaw
  • Genesys Regional Medical Center, Grand Blanc 
  • Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit 
  • Hurley Medical Center, Flint 
  • Marquette General Health System, Marquette 
  • Providence Hospital and Medical Center, Southfield 
  • Spectrum Health Hospital, Grand Rapids 
  • St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor 
  • University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor 

Collaborative Quality Initiatives are part of Value Partnerships, a series of collaborative programs among physicians, hospitals and the Michigan Blues, aimed at improving quality and safety in medical care. For more information, go to For a video of Dr. Talsma explaining this initiative, go to and view the video titled “Michigan-wide Collaboration to Improve Operating Room Processes” under the “Hospital collaborations” heading.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is a nonprofit corporation and independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit

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