Codman Center for Clinical Effectiveness in Surgery

The Codman Center for Clinical Effectiveness in Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital aims to improve patient care through innovative surgical outcomes research.

Improving Surgical Quality and Safety Through Research

The Codman Center for Clinical Effectiveness in Surgery was established by the Department of Surgery in 2002 to lead surgical outcomes research at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Codman Center leadership team

The Codman Center leadership team (left to right): Keith Lillemoe, MD, surgeon-in-chief; Matthew Hutter, MD, MPH, director, Codman Center; Dave Shahian, MD, associate director, Codman Center.

The Codman Center is named after Ernest A. Codman, MD, who was a Mass General surgeon in the early 1900s and founder of the “end results” or outcomes assessment field. At the time, Dr. Codman’s ideas were considered controversial and were not accepted by the medical community. His groundbreaking work was later embraced by Mass General and is used to improve the quality of patient care. His ideas reached a national level as he later went on to found the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the Joint Commission.  

The Codman Center’s mission is to deliver the safest, highest value patient care through innovative research and education. Local, regional and national initiatives analyze and promote the clinical effectiveness of surgical care. Locally, the center oversees safety and quality initiatives within the Mass General Department of Surgery by:

  • Collecting high quality data
  • Providing responsible reporting of information
  • Preparing thoughtful analyses
  • Facilitating and supporting continuous quality improvement
  • Aligning incentives
  • Promoting and supporting research and education

The Codman Center collaborates with Partners HealthCare hospitals and other hospitals throughout the state to promote quality improvement in Massachusetts. Nationally, the center’s leaders are the architects of quality and safety metrics used in hospitals across the country. 

Investing in Quality and Safety Leaders

The Codman Center provides opportunities for fellows and residents interested in surgical outcomes assessment, metric development and improving the quality and safety of surgical care. Through various projects, fellows and residents can broaden their exposure to surgical outcomes research and expand their skills in quality and safety measurement and metric development. Learn more about educational opportunities at the Codman Center 

Leaders in the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP)

In 2002, the Department of Surgery was one of 14 sites selected to participate in an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) funded study to implement the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) in private sector hospitals. A risk-adjusted surgical outcomes program, the NSQIP was so successful that the ACS has made participation available to all hospitals nationwide.

As a participating member of the NSQIP, the Department of Surgery’s Codman Center has amassed a database of more than 28,000 risk-adjusted surgical cases with verified 30-day clinical outcomes. The Codman Center has the ability to benchmark data and results against the other participating departments of surgery from more than 500 hospitals, which includes more than 1.8 million cases.

Award-winning Results

During a three-year period, the center’s quality and safety initiatives have resulted in a 20% reduction in the Department of Surgery’s readmission rate. This achievement spotlights the Codman Center’s commitment to improving patient care. In 2013, Mass General awarded the Nathaniel Bowditch Prize to the center, recognizing its significant contributions in enhancing the delivery of high quality patient care while also reducing the cost of that care.  Read about the 2013 Nathaniel Bowditch Prize