Article

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: 2.29). 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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    • "unilateral decisions to postpone or suspend surgery, non-attendance, forgetfulness, intercurrent illness, or poor adherence to medical instructions), unavailability of preoperative tests, or logistic issues (scheduling errors, lack of specific equipment, information breakdown, etc.). Patient-related factors are reported to be the most common reasons for cancellation1234567. Late cancellations are particularly problematic in ambulatory surgery units (ASUs) [8]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: To assess the impact of a standardized pre-operative telephone checklist on the rate of late cancellations of ambulatory surgery (AMBUPROG trial). Design: Multicenter, two-arm, parallel-group, open-label randomized controlled trial. Setting: 11 university hospital ambulatory surgery units in Paris, France. Participants: Patients scheduled for ambulatory surgery and able to be reached by telephone. Intervention: A 7-item checklist designed to prevent late cancellation, available in five languages and two versions (for children and adults), was administered between 7 and 3 days before the planned date of surgery, by an automated phone system or a research assistant. The control group received standard management alone. Main outcome measures: Rate of cancellation on the day of surgery or the day before. Results: The study population comprised 3900 patients enrolled between November 2012 and September 2013: 1950 patients were randomized to the checklist arm and 1950 patients to the control arm. The checklist was administered to 68.8% of patients in the intervention arm, 1002 by the automated phone system and 340 by a research assistant. The rate of late cancellation did not differ significantly between the checklist and control arms (109 (5.6%) vs. 113 (5.8%), adjusted odds ratio [95% confidence interval] = 0.91 [0.65-1.29], (p = 0.57)). Checklist administration revealed that 355 patients (28.0%) had not undergone tests ordered by the surgeon or anesthetist, and that 254 patients (20.0%) still had questions concerning the fasting state. Conclusions: A standardized pre-operative telephone checklist did not avoid late cancellations of ambulatory surgery but enabled us to identify several frequent causes. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01732159.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2016 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Cancellations are caused by a sub-optimally functioning clinical system [29-31]. Consequently, reducing cancellations requires changing and improving the entire clinical system. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Contextual factors influence quality improvement outcomes. Understanding this influence is important when adapting and implementing interventions and translating improvements into new settings. To date, there is limited knowledge about how contextual factors influence quality improvement processes. In this study, we explore how contextual factors affected measures to reduce surgery cancellations, which are a persistent problem in healthcare. We discuss the usefulness of the theoretical framework provided by the model for understanding success in quality (MUSIQ) for this kind of research. Method We performed a qualitative case study at Førde Hospital, Norway, where we had previously demonstrated a reduction in surgery cancellations. We interviewed 20 clinicians and performed content analysis to explore how contextual factors affected measures to reduce cancellations of planned surgeries. Results We identified three common themes concerning how contextual factors influenced the change process: 1) identifying a need to change, 2) facilitating system-wide improvement, and 3) leader involvement and support. Input from patients helped identify a need to change and contributed to the consensus that change was necessary. Reducing cancellations required improving the clinical system. This improvement process was based on a strategy that emphasized the involvement of frontline clinicians in detecting and improving system problems. Clinicians shared information about their work by participating in improvement teams to develop a more complete understanding of the clinical system and its interdependencies. This new understanding allowed clinicians to detect system problems and design adequate interventions. Middle managers’ participation in the improvement teams and in regular work processes was important for successfully implementing and adapting interventions. Conclusion Contextual factors interacted with one another and with the interventions to facilitate changes in the clinical system, reducing surgery cancellations. The MUSIQ framework is useful for exploring how contextual factors influence the improvement process and how they influence one another. Discussing data in relation to a theoretical framework can promote greater uniformity in reporting findings, facilitating knowledge-building across studies.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · BMC Health Services Research
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    • "This clinical dilemma often leads to same day surgical case cancellations resulting in delay and/or denial of the surgical care needed for these veterans. Same day case cancellation also results in wasting of the operating room (OR) resources and of valuable health care dollars [20]. Currently, there are no published guidelines to support the clinical decision making regarding perioperative management of patients with history of cocaine abuse [21]. Clinical practices vary widely based on individual anecdotes and personal experience. "
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    ABSTRACT: . Perioperative management of cocaine-abusing patients scheduled for elective surgery varies widely based on individual anecdotes and personal experience. Methods . Chiefs of the anesthesia departments in the Veterans Affairs (VA) health system were surveyed to estimate how often they encounter surgical patients with cocaine use. Respondents were asked about their screening criteria, timing of screening, action resulting from positive screening, and if they have a formal policy for management of these patients. Interest in the development of VA guidelines for the perioperative management of patients with a history of cocaine use was also queried. Results . 172 VA anesthesia departments’ chiefs were surveyed. Response rate was 62%. Over half of the facilities see cocaine-abusing patients at least once a week (52%). Two thirds of respondents canceled or delayed patients with a positive screen regardless of clinical symptoms. Only eleven facilities (10.6%) have a formal policy. The majority of facilities (80%) thought that having formal guidelines for perioperative management of cocaine-abusing patients would be helpful to some extent. Results. 172 VA anesthesia departments’ chiefs were surveyed. Response rate was 62%. Over half of the facilities see cocaine-abusing patients at least once a week (52%). Two thirds of respondents canceled or delayed patients with a positive screen regardless of clinical symptoms. Only eleven facilities (10.6%) have a formal policy. The majority of facilities (80%) thought that having formal guidelines for perioperative management of cocaine-abusing patients would be helpful to some extent. Conclusions . There is a general consensus that formal guidelines would be helpful. Further studies are needed to help formulate evidence-based guidelines for managing patients screening positive for cocaine prior to elective surgery.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Anesthesiology Research and Practice
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