SOURCE: UMass Medical School

UMass Medical School

December 23, 2013 09:52 ET

FORCE-TJR Applauds Hospital Compare Inclusion of Joint Replacement Information

WORCESTER, MA--(Marketwired - Dec 23, 2013) - The lead surgeon from the nation's most advanced joint replacement outcomes research program said today the federal government's inclusion, for the first time, of information on readmissions and complications for total joint replacement (TJR) is an encouraging first step toward providing essential information to consumers for one of the most common and costly procedures in healthcare today.

"This is a good first step in public reporting of orthopedic and joint replacement quality data," Dr. David Ayers said. "What we'd like to see now is a move to include even more information, especially more clinical risk factors and patient reported outcomes, which we know will improve the reporting model and provide information on pain and function, which is what patients are most concerned about."

Ayers is chair of the department of orthopedics and physical rehabilitation at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and heads up FORCE-TJR -- a first-of-its-kind, federally-funded database that already collects data from 125 surgeons and 30,000 patients nationwide on complication and readmission rates as well as many other quality measures in TJR surgeries. Aggregate data from FORCE-TJR can identify national norms for TJR outcomes, measuring both pain and function.

"We applaud CMS for taking this step and look forward to working with them," Ayers said. "We believe that findings from FORCE-TJR can add value for patients, providers and hospitals. FORCE-TJR provides pertinent information adjusted for an array of risks and demographics in TJR surgeries; essentially giving patients customized quality information."

FORCE-TJR is representative of U.S. orthopedic practice and is considered the most extensive database of its kind for knee and hip replacements and collects validated patient reported outcomes pre- and post-surgery to assess the impact of total joint replacement. This range of information will, for the first time, provide comparative information on quality measures beyond complication, infection and readmission rates, including cost, and what TJR devices, surgical approaches and follow-up treatments work best.

Further, FORCE-TJR includes data from all TJR patients and is not limited to patients over the age of 65, providing patients of all ages and physicians with statistical information for decision making, such as appropriate timing and expected outcomes of TJR surgery. 

FORCE-TJR, at the suggestion of the AAHKS, is in the beginning stages of collaborating with CMS in order to supplement CMS data. Supplemental information will include expansion on patient ages and risk adjustment factors.

FORCE-TJR -- Function and Outcomes Research for Comparative Effectiveness in Total Joint Replacement -- is federally funded by a $12 million grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The research program is developing a national database of surgical results and patient-reported outcomes that will include at least 30,000 TJR patients. The research, along with recorded patient assessments about the success and failure of their surgeries, will ultimately guide and improve clinical best practices, health care policy and the overall health and quality of life for millions of people suffering from arthritis. Find us at