The acute surgical unit: improving emergency care.
ABSTRACT Acute care surgical teams are a new concept in the provision of emergency general surgery. Juggling emergency patients around the surgeons' and staffs' elective commitments resulted in semi-emergency procedures routinely being delayed. In an era of increasing financial pressure and the recent introduction of 'safe work hours' practices, the need for a new system which optimized available resources became apparent.
At Fremantle Hospital we developed a new system in a concerted effort to minimize the waiting time for general surgical referrals in the Emergency Department, as well as to move semi-urgent operating from the afterhours to the daytime. To analyse the impact of the ASU, data were collected during February, March, and April 2009 and compared with data from the same period in 2008.
Although most referrals were received afterhours, over 85% of operations were performed during working hours compared with 72% in the 2008 period. The time from referral to review decreased from an average of 3.2 h in 2008 to 2.1 h. The mean duration of stay in 2009 was 3 days, which was a reduction from 4.2 days in 2008. An increase in weekend discharge rates was seen after the introduction of the ASU.
Despite an increased workload, more referrals were seen and more operations performed during working hours and the time from referral to review was reduced. Higher discharge rates and reduced length of stays increased the availability of beds. We have demonstrated a successful new model which continues to evolve.
- SourceAvailable from: Ram Venkatesh Anantha[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Emergency colorectal cancer (CRC) is a complex disease that requires multidisciplinary approaches for management. However, it is unclear whether acute care surgery (ACS) services can expedite the workup and treatment of complex surgical diseases such as emergency CRC. We sought to assess the impact of an Acute Care and Emergency Surgery Service (ACCESS) on wait-times for inpatient colonoscopy and surgical resection among emergency CRC patients. This retrospective case-control study was conducted at a tertiary-care, university-affiliated, cancer centre in London, Ontario, Canada. All patients aged 18 or older who presented to the emergency department with a recent (within 48 hours) diagnosis of CRC, or were diagnosed with CRC after admission, were included in the study. Patients were either in the pre-ACCESS (July 1, 2007-June 31, 2010) or post-ACCESS (July 1, 2010-June 30, 2012) groups. A third group of emergency CRC patients treated at an adjacent cancer centre that lacked ACCESS (non-ACCESS) was evaluated separately. The primary outcome was time from admission to colonoscopy and surgery. A total of 149 patients (47 pre-ACCESS, 37 post-ACCESS, and 65 non-ACCESS) were identified. Only 19% (n = 9) of pre-ACCESS patients underwent inpatient colonoscopy, compared to 38% (n = 14) in the post-ACCESS group (p = 0.023). Additionally, 100% of patients in the post-ACCESS era underwent inpatient colonoscopy and surgery during the same admission, compared to only 44% of pre-ACCESS patients (p = 0.006). Median wait-times for inpatient colonoscopy (2.0 and 1.8 days for pre- and post-ACCESS groups respectively, p = 0.08) and surgical resection (1.6 and 2.3 days for pre- and post-ACCESS groups respectively, p = 0.40) were similar. Patients admitted to ACCESS underwent more inpatient colonoscopies and were more likely to have definitive surgery on that admission. ACS services can facilitate the workup and management of complex surgical diseases such as emergency CRC without delaying treatment.World Journal of Emergency Surgery 03/2014; 9(1):19. · 1.06 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The Acute Surgical Unit (ASU) is a recent change in management of acute general surgical patients in hospitals worldwide. In contrast to traditional management of acute surgical presentations by a rotating on-call system, ASUs are shown to deliver improved efficiency and patient outcomes. This study investigated the impact of an ASU on operative management of appendicitis, the most common acute surgical presentation, by comparing performance indicators and patient outcomes prior to and after introduction of an ASU at the Gold Coast Hospital, Queensland, Australia. A retrospective study of patients admitted from the Emergency Department (ED) and who underwent emergency appendectomy from February 2010 to January 2011 (pre-ASU) and after introduction of the ASU from February 2011 to January 2012 (post-ASU). A total of 548 patients underwent appendectomy between February 2010 and January 2012, comprising 247 pre-ASU and 301 post-ASU patients. Significant improvements were demonstrated: reduced time to surgical review, fewer complications arising from operations commencing during ASU in-hours, and more appendectomies performed during the daytime attended by the consultant. There was no significant difference in total cost of admission or total admission length of stay. This study demonstrated that ASUs have potential to significantly improve the outcomes for operative management of acute appendicitis compared to the traditional on-call model. The impact of the ASU was limited by access to theaters and restricted ASU operation hours. Further investigation of site-specific determinants could be beneficial to optimize this new model of acute surgical care.World Journal of Surgery 08/2014; 38(8):1947-1953. · 2.35 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Acute care surgical services provide comprehensive emergency general surgical care while potentially using health care resources more efficiently. We assessed the volume and distribution of emergency general surgery (EGS) procedures before and after the implementation of the Acute Care and Emergency Surgery Service (ACCESS) at a Canadian tertiary care hospital and its effect on surgeon billings. This single-centre retrospective case-control study compared adult patients who underwent EGS procedures between July and December 2009 (pre-ACCESS), to those who had surgery between July and December 2010 (post-ACCESS). Case distribution was compared between day (7 am to 3 pm), evening (3 pm to 11 pm) and night (11 pm to 7 am). Frequencies were compared using the χ(2) test. Pre-ACCESS, 366 EGS procedures were performed: 24% during the day, 55% in the evening and 21% at night. Post-ACCESS, 463 operations were performed: 55% during the day, 36% in the evening and 9% at night. Reductions in night-time and evening EGS were 57% and 36% respectively (p < 0.001). Total surgeon billings for operations pre- and post-ACCESS were $281 066 and $287 075, respectively: remuneration was $6008 higher post-ACCESS for an additional 97 cases (p = 0.003). Using cost-modelling analysis, post-ACCESS surgeon billing for appendectomies, segmental colectomies, laparotomies and cholecystectomies all declined by $67 190, $125 215, $66 362, and $84 913, respectively (p < 0.001). Acute care surgical services have dramatically shifted EGS from nighttime to daytime. Cost-modelling analysis demonstrates that these services have cost-savings potential for the health care system without reducing overall surgeon billing.Canadian journal of surgery. Journal canadien de chirurgie 04/2014; 57(2):E9-E14. · 1.27 Impact Factor