PURPOSE: PURPOSE:Colorectal surgery, a high-volume procedure, has been targeted for performance improvement to reduce length of stay. Specific postoperative quality indicators and readmission rates should be analyzed concomitantly to assure that adverse events are not associated with earlier discharge.
METHODS: METHODS:From July 1, 1990, to June 30, 1997, 1,218 consecutive patients who underwent transabdominal colorectal surgery were analyzed for length of stay, mortality, morbidity, and discharge disposition. Each patient was assigned an Admission Severity Group rating 0 to 4 using a hospital-based state-legislated software system (Atlas™) to validate comparative performance internally and externally. Readmission data within 120 days of discharge were available for the last 678 consecutive patients from July 1, 1993, to June 30, 1997, using Lastword™ (computerized medical records).
RESULTS: RESULTS:The annual frequencies of the 1,218 procedures were 173, 183, 175, 146, 167, 189, and 185, respectively, from July 1990 through June 1997. Severity distribution was 32 for Admission Severity Group 0, 517 for Admission Severity Group 1, 540 for Admission Severity Group 2, 128 for Admission Severity Group 3, and 1 for Admission Severity Group 4, with no annual difference (P =0.012). There was a significant reduction in total length of stay of 3.1 (12.9-9.8) days during the seven years (P =0.001). The overall operative mortality rate was 1.4 percent, and the morbidity was 2.6 percent, with no annual differences (P =0.655 and P =0.033, respectively). The disposition to home did not change (P =0.21). Of the 678 patients followed up for readmission, 100 (14.7 percent) were readmitted within 120 days, with no annual difference (P =0.302).
CONCLUSION: CONCLUSION:Mortality, morbidity, disposition, and readmission rates were not affected by a decreased length of stay after colorectal surgery.
Presented at the Research Forum at the meeting of The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, San Antonio, Texas, May 2 to 7, 1998.
© The ASCRS 1999