This article discusses the lessons learned by an interdisciplinary team in a large metropolitan specialty hospital during the implementation of the Code Aorta protocol for aortic emergencies and the subsequent application of technological enhancements to improve data transfer. Aortic dissections require rapid diagnosis and surgical treatment; thus, in order to optimize patient outcomes, clinicians must be accessible, data must be readily available, and proper prompts and notifications must be made to alert and ready teams. An interdisciplinary team reviewed our hospital’s processes and architecture of systems to define how we provide care during aortic emergencies. Based on this insight into patient flow, we ultimately developed a Code Aorta protocol to streamline provision of care during aortic emergencies. This process focused on protocol development, human-technology interfaces, and outcome-oriented metrics. The team also aimed to heighten awareness of the emergent process and to understand relevant outcomes data. After introduction of the Code Aorta protocol, a 78% reduction was achieved in time-to-treatment from the previous year’s average time. In addition, the average length of stay was reduced by 2.4 days (18%). The team’s efforts focused on clinical communication, aiming to link technology to maximize clinical efficiency. The initial results of our Code Aorta protocol show promise that continual refinement of patient care processes during aortic emergencies will improve outcomes for patients suffering aortic dissection.
Author Affiliations: Texas Christian University, Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Fort Worth (Dr Moats); and The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano and The Heart Hospital Baylor Denton, Texas (Mr Richard).
The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationship with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.
Corresponding author: Susan K. Moats, DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, Texas Christian University, Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences, TCU Box 298627, Fort Worth, TX 76129 (Susan.Moats@tcu.edu).