The United States' healthcare system is facing unprecedented pressures: the healthcare cost curve is not sustainable while the bar of standards and expectations for the quality of care continues to rise. Systems committed to the surgical treatment of children will likely require changes and reorganization. Regardless of these mounting pressures, hospitals must remain focused on providing the best possible care to each child at every encounter. Available clinical expertise and hospital resources should be optimized to match the complexity of the treated condition. Although precise criteria are lacking, there is a growing consensus that the optimal combination of clinical experience and hospital resources must be defined, and efforts toward this goal have been supported by the Regents of the American College of Surgeons, the members of the American Pediatric Surgical Association, and the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia (SPA) Board of Directors. The topic of optimizing outcomes and the discussion of the concepts involved have unfortunately become divisive. Our goals, therefore, are 1) to provide a review of the literature that can provide context for the discussion of regionalization, volume, and optimal resources and promote mutual understanding of these important terms, 2) to review the evidence that has been published to date in pediatric surgery associated with regionalization, volume, and resource, 3) to focus on a specific resource (anesthesia), and the association that this may have with outcomes, and 4) to provide a framework for future research and policy efforts.
- Clinical outcomes
- Volume-related outcomes