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COEHS Program Overview

The number of patients requiring hernia surgery is on the rise, due to factors such as the aging population, obesity pandemic, abuse of tobacco and other substances, pervasive use of steroids and immunosuppressants, increase in laparatomy procedures and improvements in cancer survival rates. Although hernia repair and abdominal wall reconstruction are commonly performed procedures, there is a lack of consensus regarding best practices and appropriate mesh selection. The success of these complex procedures is also challenged by patients with outcome-thwarting comorbidities and a high incidence of recurrence. Health reform measures and increasing scrutiny by insurance providers adds another layer of complexity to the issue.

A program is now available to focus on the hernia surgery patient and provider through:

  • Improved outcomes and decreased complications
  • Increased patient satisfaction
  • Increased surgical volumes
  • Improved surgeon and staff satisfaction
  • Reduced cost per case
  • Reliable and resource-sensitive outcomes measurement

SRC has partnered with world-renowned leaders in the areas of hernia repair and abdominal wall reconstruction to create a center of excellence program that integrates clinical practice quality, research, innovation and dialogue in advancing the needs of patients and providers. Launched in May 2012, the Center of Excellence in Hernia Surgery (COEHS) designation is offered to surgeons, hospitals, and ambulatory centers throughout the world that perform hernia surgery and abdominal wall reconstruction.

The COEHS program is independently managed by SRC to ensure bias-free administration and participant confidentiality.

The official designation awarded to participants is “Center of Excellence in Hernia Surgery.”

APHS Endorsement

COEHS is endorsed by the Asia Pacific Hernia Society (APHS) representing more than 1,100 hernia surgery specialists. The endorsement indicates that the COEHS program meets APHS standards for improving modern hernia treatment and providing a professional forum for the exchange of information and education regarding current and future methods of diagnosis and treatment.


The COEHS program is focused on improving the safety and quality of hernia patient care worldwide, and lowering the overall costs associated with successful treatment. Data from COEHS participants will be used to determine which treatment works best for which patient under what circumstances. This information will enable clinicians, patients, payors and policymakers to make informed decisions that will improve healthcare at the individual level and for the patient population as a whole. The COEHS program will help position providers of hernia surgery at the forefront of care, and demonstrate the improved outcomes and cost savings that result from a quality initiative.

Proven Methodology

The COEHS program is based on a proven methodology developed by SRC, the world’s leading administrator of center of excellence (COE) programs for surgical specialties. The methodology involves two interdependent initiatives: a rigorous COE program coupled with a central outcomes database. This integrated approach exemplifies the concept of the “Hawthorne effect” – over time, program participants improve the quality of their care simply by entering data that will be subject to evaluation[1].

SRC works closely with leaders in hernia surgery and abdominal wall reconstruction to develop the COE program and its standards, and involves industry stakeholders to gain different perspectives and obtain their support. The requirements that result from this collaboration are comprehensive, specific to the needs of patients and providers, and integral to the future of the specialty. The requirements are coupled with an objective evaluation process that enables a thorough review of each designation candidate. A periodic renewal process ensures ongoing compliance with COE criteria.

Through SRC’s outcomes database, participating surgeons gain real-time access to individual patient information that supports clinical decisions. Providers obtain meaningful data through numerous daily reports that are based on information from the surgeon’s individual practice. National summary reports enable participants to compare their individual outcomes to aggregate data and assess their approach to care. Patients will be the ultimate beneficiaries of the quality improvements that result from measuring and evaluating surgical outcomes. Providers will be able to use data from the outcomes database to determine the safest and most effective treatment for each patient.

Program Leadership

Many of the specialty’s leading surgeons have been involved in shaping the COEHS program, including Dr. Pradeep Chowbey, a Founding Member of the Asia Pacific Hernia Society, the honorary surgeon to the President of India and surgeon to the Dalai Lama. Dr. Chowbey and his team are recognized in the Limca Book of Records for performing the most minimal access surgeries (more than 57,500).

Designations Awarded to Facilities and Surgeons

Truly excellent patient care is the result of both the individual surgeon and the facility at which the surgery is performed. The COEHS designation is therefore awarded to a facility and its associated surgeons who have successfully completed the designation process, which enables patients to distinguish providers who have met the requirements for delivering high-quality perioperative patient care from those who have not.

Comprehensive Requirements and Evaluation

The COEHS program’s objective requirements recognize the important role that surgeons, their multispecialty teams and facility administration play in delivering high-quality perioperative care. A commitment to excellence necessitates that the requirements be comprehensive, research-based and verified through a rigorous site inspection and review process.

Program Eligibility

COEHS certification is available to surgeons, hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers around the world that perform hernia surgery on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Surgeons do not have to be a member of a medical society to participate.

Getting Started and Program Support

When you are ready to join the growing community of surgeons and facilities that have made the commitment to excellence, the first step of the COEHS certification process is to register online.

If you have any questions, SRC Support representatives are available to answer them and help you with your application. They can be reached Monday-Friday from 8:30 am-5:30 pm ET at 1.919.981.4460 or srcsupport@surgicalreview.org (srcsupport null@null surgicalreview NULL.org).

[1] Leonard K. Is patient satisfaction sensitive to changes in the quality of care? J Health Econ. 2008;27(2):444-459.