Elective surgical case cancellation in the Veterans Health Administration system: identifying areas for improvement

Center for Surgical, Medical Acute Care Research and Transitions, Birmingham Veterans Administration Medical Center, Birmingham, AL, USA.
American journal of surgery (Impact Factor: 2.41). 11/2009; 198(5):600-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2009.07.005
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study evaluated elective surgical case cancellation (CC) rates, reasons for these cancellations, and identified areas for improvement within the Veterans Health Administration (VA) system.
CC data for 2006 were collected from the scheduling software for 123 VA facilities. Surveys were distributed to 40 facilities (10 highest and 10 lowest CC rates for high- and low-volume facilities). CC reasons were standardized and piloted at 5 facilities.
Of 329,784 cases scheduled by 9 surgical specialties, 40,988 (12.4%) were cancelled. CC reasons (9,528) were placed into 6 broad categories: patient (35%), work-up/medical condition change (28%), facility (20%), surgeon (8%), anesthesia (1%), and miscellaneous (8%). Survey results show areas for improvement at the facility level and a standardized list of 28 CC reasons was comprehensive.
Interventions that decrease cancellations caused by patient factors, inadequate work-up, and facility factors are needed to reduce overall elective surgical case cancellations.

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