Enhanced recovery protocols are changing surgical patients’ perioperative care and improving outcomes, according to an article in the March 30 The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Laura Landro, who writes the WSJ column “The Informed Patient,” interviews Traci Hedrick, MD, FACS, co-author of a study in the February online edition of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Hedrick’s team at the University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, found that when used in colorectal surgery patients, enhanced recovery contributed to reducing length of hospital stay by 2.2 days compared with a control group. Furthermore, complications were reduced by 17 percent, patient satisfaction with pain control increased by 55 percent, and overall estimated cost savings was $7,129 per patient. View an American College of Surgeons (ACS) press release reporting on the study results.
Enhanced recovery protocols are designed to achieve early recovery after surgical procedures by maintaining organ function and minimizing the stress caused by the procedure. The key elements include preoperative counseling, nutritional guidance, painkilling and anesthetic medication, and early mobilization.
The ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®) is pursuing an initiative for increased acceptance of enhanced recovery protocols throughout surgery. Profiled in the article is a positive patient care enhanced recovery experience at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC. In addition, “Kaiser Permanente Northern California is currently introducing the enhanced recovery protocol in its 21 medical centers, focusing first on colorectal surgery and hip fracture patients. It plans to expand the program soon to total joint replacement,” Ms. Landro reports.
Ms. Landro writes of this “national initiative led by experts including Julie Thacker [MD, FACS], assistant professor of surgery at Duke University School of Medicine and medical director of the enhanced recovery program at Duke University Hospital, which has been able to reduce hospital stays and readmissions with the approach.”