Surgeons are increasingly under pressure to measure and improve their quality. While there is broad consensus that we ought to track surgical quality, there is far less agreement about which metrics matter most. This article reviews the important statistical concepts of case mix and chance as they apply to understanding the observed wide variation in surgical quality. We then discuss the benefits and drawbacks of current measurement strategies through the framework of structure, process, and outcomes approaches. Finally, we describe emerging new metrics, such as video evaluation and network optimization, that are likely to take on an increasingly important role in the future of measuring surgical quality.


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