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Using variance tracking to improve outcomes and reduce costs

Benson, Linda McAlpine RN, CCRN, CS, MS; Bowes, Joanne RN, BSN; Cheesebro, Kathy RN, BS; Stasa, Cheryl RN, BSN; Horst, Todd BS; Blyskal, Sue RHIA; Hoenig, Nancy M. LPN; Wolf, Mary LPN; Hanson, Chris RPh; Bangel, Linda RN, CRNI, BSN; Bergman, Karen RN; Cyphers, Nancy K. RN; Duncan, Pat RN,C, BSN

Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing: March-April 2001 - Volume 20 - Issue 2 - p 34-42
Educational Dimension: Applied Research

Clinical pathways outline patient-care delivery over time for specific patient populations, but their true utility is derived from information obtained through variance tracking-documenting when and why a patient's care varies from the clinical pathway. This article describes one health care facility's variance tracking for pulmonary, medical oncology, and nephrology patients and their associated measured outcomes. Avoidable hospital days were tracked and a performance improvement initiative, focused on the pathways most often used on the medical unit, was undertaken, resulting in decreased length of patient stay and cost savings of more than $160,000.


Linda McAlpine Benson, RN, CCRN, CS, MS; Joanne Bowes, RN, BSN; Kathy Cheesebro, RN, BS; Cheryl Stasa, RN, BSN; Todd Horst, BS; Sue Blyskal, RHIA; Nancy M. Hoenig, LPN; Mary Wolf, LPN; Chris Hanson, RPh; Linda Bangel, RN, CRNI, BSN; Karen Bergman, RN; Nancy K. Cyphers, RN; and Pat Duncan, RN,C, BSN, are members of the performance improvement department, nursing management, the pharmacy staff, and the hyperalimentation nursing team at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Mich.

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.