Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)

First Advisor

Julie Ann Sosa


Adams et al. was the first to demonstrate an association between improved outcomes and provider experience in a 1973 study examining complication rates from coronary arteriograms.[1] In this study, a questionnaire was mailed to the directors of coronary arteriography laboratories throughout the US. They found that mortality was eight times higher in institutions performing fewer than 200 examinations per two-year period compared to institutions performing more than 800 examinations per two-year period. It was not until 1979, however, that efforts to systematically study outcomes in surgery were made by Luft and colleagues.[2] They demonstrated lower mortality rates at high-volume centers compared with low-volume centers for several high risk procedures, such as coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) and vascular surgery. This landmark study set the stage for outcomes research in surgery. Over the past decade, additional studies have continued to show higher surgeon or hospital volumes to be associated with improved patient outcomes. [3-13] To what degree surgeon versus hospital volume each contribute to outcomes is controversial and depends on the procedure examined. Nevertheless, formal recommendations encouraging certain high-risk procedures be performed at high-volume hospitals began as early as 2000 by the Leapfrog group and other policy initiatives.[14, 15] Formal recommendations for surgeon volume, on the other hand, have been lacking. There has been mounting evidence, particularly in the last decade, that surgeon volume is associated with improved patient outcomes, independent of hospital volume. To what measure these data have influenced referral patterns from low- to high-volume surgeons is unknown.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access