Trauma performance improvement programs are required by the American College of Surgeons to review all nonsurgical admissions if the annual rate exceeds 10%. These reviews can have varying consistency between reviewers, are time consuming, and the consequent aggregate data are difficult to evaluate for trends.
This study set forth to standardize nonsurgical admission review through validation of the Nelson tool, which is a published objective scoring tool to determine the appropriateness of nonsurgical admissions. We hypothesized that implementation of this tool would facilitate earlier identification of events resulting in meaningful intervention and a reduction of inappropriate nonsurgical admissions.
The Nelson tool and scoring was integrated into the nonsurgical admission review process. A customized audit filter and report were built in the trauma registry. Data were reviewed with respect to scores and admitting service. Statistical analysis included using analysis of variance and t tests to examine differences between admitting services, χ2 test of independence or Fisher's exact to test the association of categorical variables, and ordinal logistic regression to test the ability of the total Nelson tool to predict appropriateness of admission.
Using the Nelson tool, scores resulted in appropriate admission service in over 90% of cases. Implementation of the tool resulted in a decreased performance improvement workload with a 78% reduction in nonsurgical admission cases required to go to secondary level of review.
Utilization of a validated scoring tool decreases performance improvement workload without compromising patient safety.