Review of an emergency general surgery process improvement program at a verified military trauma center
Decreasing combat-based admissions to our military facility have made it difficult to maintain a robust trauma process improvement (PI) program. Since emergency general surgery (EGS) and trauma patients share similarities, we merged the care of our EGS and trauma patients into one acute care surgery (ACS) team. An EGS PI program was developed based on trauma PI principles to facilitate continued identification of opportunities for improvement despite our decline in trauma admissions. Analysis of the first 18 months of combined ACS PI data is presented.
EGS registry inclusion criteria was based on published Association for the Surgery of Trauma’s recommendations. Program components and PI categories were based on our existing trauma PI program. Dedicated coordinators actively reviewed and cataloged patient care and outcomes. Deviations from standard practice patterns, unplanned interventions, and other complications were abstracted, categorized, and evaluated through levels of review similar to accepted trauma PI principles. Data for the first six quarters were collated and trends were analyzed.
Over 18 months, 696 EGS patients met registry inclusion criteria, with 468 patients (67%) undergoing operative intervention. Over the same time, 353 trauma patients were admitted with 158 undergoing operative intervention (56.4%). Of the 696 EGS patients and 353 trauma patients, 226 (32%) and 243 (69%) PI events were identified, respectively. Common events included unplanned therapies, re-admissions, and unplanned ICU admissions. Based on analysis of all events, four new areas for improvement initiatives were identified. Results of these initiatives included implementation of a multi-disciplinary EGS PI committee, consensus protocols, and departmental and hospital-wide actions.
In an 18-month period, integration of our EGS patients into a novel, combined ACS PI program facilitated recognition of an additional 226 PI events and provided a substrate for continued improvements in patient care.
KeywordsEmergency general surgery Process improvement Quality
Compliance with ethical standards
Joseph Bozzay, Matthew Bradley, Angela Kindvall, Ashley Humphries, Elliot Jessie, Judy Logeman, Jeffrey Bailey, Eric Elster, and Carlos Rodriguez, have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.
The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private ones of the author/speaker and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the Department of Defense, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences or any other agency of the U.S. Government.
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