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Benchmarking the perioperative process: II. Introducing anesthesia clinical pathways to improve processes and outcomes and to reduce nursing labor intensity in ambulatory orthopedic surgery

Study Objectives: (1) To introduce anesthesia clinical pathways as a management tool to improve the quality of care; (2) to use the Procedural Times Glossary published by the Association of Anesthesia Clinical Directors (AACD) as a template for data collection and analysis; and (3) to determine the effects of anesthesia clinical pathways on surgical processes, outcomes, and costs in common ambulatory orthopedic surgery. Design: Hospital database and patient chart review of consecutive patients undergoing anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) during academic years (AY) 1995–1996 and 1996–1997. Patient data from AY 1995–1996, during which no intraoperative anesthesia clinical pathways existed, served as historical controls. Data from AY 1996–1997, during which intraoperative anesthesia clinical pathways were used, served as the treatment group. Regional anesthesia options were routinely offered to patients in the clinical pathway. Setting: Ambulatory surgery center in a teaching hospital. Measurements and Main Results: The records of 503 ASA physical status I and II patients were reviewed. 1996–1997 patients underwent clinical pathway anesthesia care in which the intraoperative and postoperative anesthesia process was standardized with respect to symptom management, drugs, and equipment used. 1995–1996 patients did not have a standardized intraoperative and postoperative anesthetic course with respect to the management of common symptoms or to specific drugs and supplies used. Intervals described in the AACD Procedural Times Glossary, anesthesia drug and supply costs, and patient outcome variables (postoperative nursing interventions required and unexpected admissions), as influenced by the use of the anesthesia clinical pathway, were measured. Clinical pathway anesthesia care for ACLR in 1996–1997, which actively incorporated regional anesthesia options, reduced pharmacy and materials cost variability; slightly increased turnover time; improved intraoperative anesthesia and surgical efficiency, recovery times, and unexpected admission rates; and decreased the number of required nursing interventions for common postoperative symptoms. Conclusions: Clinical pathway patient management systems in anesthesia care are likely to produce useful outcome data of current practice patterns when compared with historical controls. This management tool may be useful in simultaneously containing costs and improving process efficiency and patient outcomes. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Clinical Anesthesia Elsevier
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