Johns Hopkins to Share Surgical Care Methods

There may be procedural changes coming to your operating rooms this year. The Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality will partner with 750 hospitals across the country to improve surgical care for patients. In collaboration with the American College of Surgeons, and funded by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the program will disseminate a protocol, already in use at Johns Hopkins since 2013, that covers all aspects of pre- and post-operative patient care.

The Baltimore Sun reports the program focuses on the safety of a patient in the hospital, but also includes the recovery of the patient after discharge. The ultimate goal is to get the patient up and moving around faster, and getting back to a normal life as soon as possible. Dr. Clifford Y. Ko, a director at the American College of Surgeons, said, "We know that patients usually fare better when they recover quickly from operations."

The method is called "Enhanced Recovery after Surgery" and will initially focus on colorectal surgery patients. Johns Hopkins reports that since they implemented the program with their colorectal surgery patients, the length of stay in the hospital dropped by 1.5 days. They also reported a $1500 in savings per patient, a 50% drop in surgical site infections, and an overall drop in complications.

Eventually, the program will be expanded to other hospital departments including, emergency, bariatric, orthopedic, and gynecological surgeries. The program involves the patient's family as well, giving them more information about the surgery and what they can expect for recovery.

The checklist does not require new personnel, but it may require hospitals to change their staffing for better coordination.

The cost of the contract between the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality and the AHRQ is $4 million with options for another three year-long extensions at $4 million per year.

Do you think your hospital could benefit from these changes? If the new checklist and procedures even necessary, or is patient care already being adequately handled in your OR's?