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Surgical Volumes

Key Facts

  • Surgical volumes are the number of times a hospital has done a specific surgical procedure in a defined time period.
  • Hospitals that do more of a specific surgical procedure tend to have better outcomes for their patients than hospitals that do less of them.
  • Patients should ask their surgeon how many times the surgeon and the hospital have done their specific surgical procedure in the last two years.

What is this measure?

For a number of surgical procedures, studies have shown a strong relationship exists between the number of times a hospital performs a specific surgical procedure and the outcomes for those patients, including death and complication rates. In May 2015, Johns Hopkins Health System, along with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and University of Michigan, pledged that their hospitals would meet annual volume thresholds for 10 surgical procedures. The 10 procedures identified by this group of hospitals are those that have the strongest link between hospital volume and patient mortality. Many of the surgeries listed below consist of multiple types of surgeries. For example, some examples of the surgeries that fall in the Complex Aortic Surgery category are thoracic aortic surgery, valve surgery and aortic aneurysm surgery.

How does Johns Hopkins Medicine* perform?

better than average
Better than target
worse than average
Worse than target
 Number of Surgeries
 Volume TargetThe Johns Hopkins Hospital
(Average of FY15-16)

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
(Average of FY15-16)

Academic Division Volume**
(Average of FY15-16)
Bariatric surgery for weight loss40Procedure not done electively at this hospitalabove volume target296above volume target296
Carotid artery stenting10below volume target8above volume target10above volume target18
Complex abdominal aortic aneurysm repair20above volume target147above volume target30above volume target177
Esophagus resection20above volume target97below volume target11above volume target108
Hip replacement ***50below volume target10above volume target299above volume target309
Knee replacement ***50below volume target8above volume target394above volume target402
Lung resection40above volume target263below volume target33above volume target296
Mitral valve repair20above volume target104Procedure not done electively at this hospitalabove volume target104
Pancreas resection20above volume target402below volume target7above volume target409
Rectal cancer surgery15above volume target75above volume target15above volume target90

Why is it important?

Patients who need to undergo a surgical procedure should understand both the experience of their surgeon and the experience of the hospital where the surgery will be done. For many surgical procedures, there is a strong link between how many times the hospital has done the procedure and the outcomes for those patients. Hospitals that do more of a procedure tend to have lower death rates and complication rates for their patients.

We urge our patients to ask their surgeon how many times the surgeon and the hospital have done their specific surgical procedure in the last two years.

What is Johns Hopkins Medicine doing to continue to improve?

The Surgical Volume Pledge reinforces the need for the Johns Hopkins Health System to review where surgical procedures are being done and what level of volume each hospital is doing, and to consider opportunities to shift procedures from lower-volume hospitals to higher-volume hospitals.

Johns Hopkins Medicine recognizes that traveling to a hospital farther away from home can be inconvenient for the patient, the patient’s family and their loved ones, but Johns Hopkins Medicine strongly believes that the end goal of providing the best and safest care for our patients is a trade-off that is worth taking.