September 2021

Platforms for Performance & Outcomes (PPO) Task Force

Justin Smith, MD, PhD
PPO Task Force Members

The Platforms for Performance and Outcomes (PPO) Task Force was created by the SRS Board of Directors to explore solutions to three important strategic needs of the SRS: (1) desire for registry/quality improvement (QI) tools, (2) future directions for the SRS Morbidity and Mortality (M&M) Committee, and (3) enhancing research opportunities for our membership.

Based on a 2018 SRS survey, the number one priority of the membership was for registry/QI tools, with one member noting, “The variability is going to kill us”. Registry/QI tools can not only help to address the tremendous variability that exists in deformity care, but can also aid in improving overall safety and outcomes. In addition, these tools can provide objective evidence of the effectiveness and benefits of spinal deformity treatment. As the leading society focused on spinal deformity worldwide, the SRS has a strategic need to play a role in the registry domain. The PPO Task Force comprehensively reviewed existing global initiatives aimed at QI of spinal care. However, the Task Force could not identify any current existing initiative that would meet the very diverse needs and expectations of our global membership and recommended that the SRS should develop and maintain its own registry/QI tools. Recognizing the importance of collecting data in a compliant manner from its global members, the PPO Task Force also recommended creation of the Data Compliance Committee.

The M&M Committee has provided valuable data over several decades, but it is in need of a new direction to continue to serve the SRS effectively. Assessment of treatment and outcomes has evolved beyond focused assessment of morbidity and mortality into broader patient-reported outcomes measures, overall safety of care, and value assessments. The PPO Task Force proposed that the M&M Committee evolve into the Outcomes and Benchmarking Committee. This rebranded and refocused committee could oversee the efforts of the SRS to provide new registry/QI tools for the membership.

Research efforts have been increasingly driven by study groups and collaborations among surgeons and centers that typically require basic data collection and storage infrastructure. However, since most members worldwide do not have ready access to these resources, the Task Force noted that the SRS has the potential to play a major role in facilitating organic collaborative research efforts worldwide by providing access to basic research tools.

Based on the above strategic needs of the SRS, the PPO Task Force proposed that the SRS develop a multi-functional app with a potentially very broad range of applications, including registry/QI tools. This app could facilitate basic data collection from the membership to enable de-identified benchmarking. This data collection could be overseen by the newly created Outcomes and Benchmarking Committee (formerly the M&M Committee) and ultimately replace the current M&M data submission requirement, while providing considerably more valuable, clinically relevant output for the membership. In addition, this app could provide options to facilitate organic research efforts for members who wish to use these features. Such strategic changes will require time to create and adapt to but promise to provide more powerful data and tools for our members. Stay tuned for updates on this topic by the leadership over the coming year.

The PPO Task Force includes five members (Drs. Shay Bess, Steve Glassman, Kenny Kwan, Ferran Pellisé, and Justin Smith) and four advisors (Drs. Ying Li, Michelle Marks, Christopher Shaffrey, and Michael Vitale).