Current state and future direction of quality improvement in pediatric neurosurgery: a survey of pediatric neurosurgeons

Gabriella Pendola, George W. Koutsouras, Joseph Piatt, Bruce A. Kaufman, Carolina Sandoval-Garcia, Annie I. Drapeau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE Quality improvement (QI) is a methodology used to implement sustainable, meaningful change to improve patient outcomes. Given the complex pathologies observed in pediatric neurosurgery, QI projects could potentially improve patient care. Overall, there is a need to characterize the degree of QI opportunities, training, and initiatives within the field of pediatric neurosurgery. Herein the authors aimed to define the current QI landscape in pediatric neurosurgery. METHODS A cross-sectional survey was sent to all members of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/ Congress of Neurological Surgeons Joint Section on Pediatric Neurological Surgery via email. The responses were anonymized. Questions addressed several relatable QI topics including 1) training and participation in QI; 2) QI infrastructure; 3) QI program incentives; and 4) general opinions on the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) database, various QI topics, and QI productivity. RESULTS Responses were received from 129 participants (20% response rate). Most respondents practiced in an academic setting (59.8%) and at a free-standing pediatric hospital (65.4%). Participation in QI projects was high (81.7%), but only 23.8% of respondents had formal QI training. Only 36.5% of respondents had institutional requirements for QI work; the majority of those were only required to participate as a project team member. Nearly half of the respondents did not receive incentives or institutional support for QI. The majority agreed (“strongly” and “somewhat”) that a QI course would be beneficial (75.5%), that QI projects should be considered for publication in neurosurgery journals (88.1%), and that there is a need for national quality metrics (81.4%). Over 88% have an interest in seeing QI project presentations at the annual Pediatric Joint Section meeting. Only 26.3% believed that the NSQIP was a useful QI guide. Respondents suggested further study of the following QI topics: overall rates of infection and their prevention, hydrocephalus, standardized treatment algorithms for common disorders, team communication, pediatric neurosurgery–specific database, access to care, and interprofessional education. CONCLUSIONS Areas of opportunity include specialty-specific QI education, tactics for obtaining support to build the QI infrastructure, increased visibility of QI work within pediatric neurosurgery, and a review of available registries to provide readily available data relevant to this specialty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-191
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

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©AANS 2023, except where prohibited by US copyright law.


  • pediatric neurosurgery
  • quality improvement
  • survey

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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