Timothy Averch, MD
In January 2014, the AUA held its first ever Quality Improvement (QI) Summit at the AUA headquarters in Baltimore. Attended by more than 65 urologists, residents and other healthcare professionals, the Summit focused on complications associated with transrectal ultrasound biopsies. To kick off our new "Five Questions" series, we recently sat down with AUA Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (QIPS) Committee Vice Chair Dr. Timothy Averch, who developed and planned the Summit, to talk more about the event and its relevance to the urology community.
Q: Did this year’s Summit meet your expectations?
We had conservative expectations for the first attempt at a quality-themed meeting and were we wrong: the response was overwhelming. The number of individuals who took time from their busy practices to come to AUA headquarters in a snowy January was more than we had hoped. Then, the amount of involvement and discussion that took place demonstrated the interest in this problem worldwide (yes, we even had interest from international members of the AUA!). Getting like-minded individuals together in one room was incredibly valuable to be able to present, interact and respond with one another towards a common goal.
Q: Were there any surprising data or "a ha!" moments?
The amount of involvement and interest and willingness to listen and make change was the most surprising and refreshing part of the summit. It energized the discussions and drove the conversation and will, hopefully, continue forward towards the process of paper generation.
Q: What kinds of information were shared by the group? What were the key take-home messages from the event?
The first overwhelming common theme described was the recognition from everyone as to the significance of the worsening problem of infections occurring after prostate needle biopsies. Various protocols were described and debated, outlining some common themes. There was definitely consensus around general protocols that can be successfully deployed to reduce infections. The attendees were able to compare their own actions with those of others and consider implementing change. One attendee emailed after the summit that they had already deployed some of the strategies discussed and many participants indicated plans to change their practices in the future.
Q: Do you have any messages for people who were unable to attend?
We are processing the video that was taken to offer the discussion and presentations online. The next step is to create a white paper with many of the attendees in the workgroup that will not only summarize the proceedings but create a consensus document to submit for publication. Ultimately, we are attempting to gather large data sets from multiple centers and practices to perform "meta-analysis" of the data. Once analyzed, we will be able to better qualify and quantify our statements and create quality measures that can be practically applied. Please continue to check the AUA website for Quality products.
Q: What's next for this initiative? Is the QIPS Committee considering more events like this?
As I outlined above, we are in the process of creating a summary paper. An additional bonus is we now have a network of quality experts to call on for any other quality initiatives that may come down the pike. With the success of this meeting, the QIPS committee would certainly like to see further QI Summits offered in the future. We are exploring new topics and are open to suggestions from anyone with an interest in quality improvement.