BMJ Qual Saf. 2023 Aug 8;bmjqs-2022-015390. Online ahead of print.
Importance: Surgical complications represent a considerable proportion of hospital expenses. Therefore, interventions that improve surgical outcomes could reduce healthcare costs.
Objective: Evaluate the effects of implementing surgical outcome monitoring using control charts to reduce hospital bed-days within 30 days following surgery, and hospital costs reimbursed for this care by the insurer.
Design: National, parallel, cluster-randomised SHEWHART trial using a difference-in-difference approach.
Setting: 40 surgical departments from distinct hospitals across France.
Participants: 155 362 patients over the age of 18 years, who underwent hernia repair, cholecystectomy, appendectomy, bariatric, colorectal, hepatopancreatic or oesophageal and gastric surgery were included in analyses.
Intervention: After the baseline assessment period (2014-2015), hospitals were randomly allocated to the intervention or control groups. In 2017-2018, the 20 hospitals assigned to the intervention were provided quarterly with control charts for monitoring their surgical outcomes (inpatient death, intensive care stay, reoperation and severe complications). At each site, pairs, consisting of one surgeon and a collaborator (surgeon, anaesthesiologist or nurse), were trained to conduct control chart team meetings, display posters in operating rooms, maintain logbooks and design improvement plans.
Main outcomes: Number of hospital bed-days per patient within 30 days following surgery, including the index stay and any acute care readmissions related to the occurrence of major adverse events, and hospital costs reimbursed for this care per patient by the insurer.
Results: Postintervention, hospital bed-days per patient within 30 days following surgery decreased at an adjusted ratio of rate ratio (RRR) of 0.97 (95% CI 0.95 to 0.98; p<0.001), corresponding to a 3.3% reduction (95% CI 2.1% to 4.6%) for intervention hospitals versus control hospitals. Hospital costs reimbursed for this care per patient by the insurer significantly decreased at an adjusted ratio of cost ratio (RCR) of 0.99 (95% CI 0.98 to 1.00; p=0.01), corresponding to a 1.3% decrease (95% CI 0.0% to 2.6%). The consumption of a total of 8910 hospital bed-days (95% CI 5611 to 12 634 bed-days) and €2 615 524 (95% CI €32 366 to €5 405 528) was avoided in the intervention hospitals postintervention.
Conclusions: Using control charts paired with indicator feedback to surgical teams was associated with significant reductions in hospital bed-days within 30 days following surgery, and hospital costs reimbursed for this care by the insurer.
PMID: 37553238 DOI: 10.1136/bmjqs-2022-015390