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Reducing Surgery Scheduling Errors in Multihospital System.

Watson, Donna S. RN, PhD; Corbett, Cynthia F. RN, PhD; Oneal, Gail RN, PhD; Daratha, Kenn B. PhD
doi: 10.1097/PTS.0000000000000370
Original Article: PDF Only

Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess whether bundled team training interventions for surgeons and office staff could effectively improve the accuracy of surgery scheduling, minimizing scheduling factors that may contribute to occurrence of wrong site surgery.

Methods: This quasiexperimental observational study used an interrupted time series design to explore surgery scheduling errors (SSEs) and implemented bundled team training interventions intended to reduce SSEs at a Pacific Northwest Regional Surgery Scheduling Department. Each preintervention and postintervention segment consisted of 16 weekly data points. The bundled team training interventions included disclosure of preintervention scheduling errors, a scheduling verification checklist, an updated surgery scheduling policy and procedure, and toolkit to improve office scheduling of surgeries.

Results: Improvements in SSEs were observed preintervention to postintervention, with decreased surgery SSE rate from 0.51% to 0.13% (P < 0.001). Reductions were observed in all SSE types. The segmented linear trend demonstrated an observed reduction of 42.70 SSE (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: This is the first study conducted at a large healthcare system with a regional surgery scheduling department to demonstrate that statistically significant and clinically important reductions in SSEs can be achieved. The findings demonstrate that SSEs can be minimized and confirm that verification processes must begin in the surgeon's office once a decision has been reached to proceed with surgery. The study confirms the need for additional research targeted at understanding why SSEs occur at the time of scheduling.

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