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Original Investigation
May 10, 2017

Enhanced Recovery After Surgery Program Implementation in 2 Surgical Populations in an Integrated Health Care Delivery System

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, California
  • 2The Permanente Medical Group, Oakland, California
  • 3Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan, Oakland, California
JAMA Surg. Published online May 10, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.1032
Key Points

Question  What is the influence of implementation of an enhanced recovery after surgery program on outcomes among patients undergoing elective colorectal resection and emergency hip fracture repair?

Findings  In this pre-post difference-in-differences study of 15 849 surgical patients at 20 medical centers in Northern California, implementation of a multifaceted enhanced recovery program was associated with a one-third reduction in postoperative complication rates in the target population relative to comparator surgical populations. The program was also associated with decreased hospital mortality among patients undergoing colorectal resection and increased rates of discharge to home among patients undergoing hip fracture repair.

Meaning  Large-scale implementation of an enhanced recovery after surgery program significantly improved many processes and outcomes of surgical care in 2 distinct populations.

Abstract

Importance  Novel approaches to perioperative surgical care focus on optimizing nutrition, mobility, and pain management to minimize adverse events after surgical procedures.

Objective  To evaluate the outcomes of an enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) program among 2 target populations: patients undergoing elective colorectal resection and patients undergoing emergency hip fracture repair.

Design, Setting, and Participants  A pre-post difference-in-differences study before and after ERAS implementation in the target populations compared with contemporaneous surgical comparator groups (patients undergoing elective gastrointestinal surgery and emergency orthopedic surgery). Implementation began in February and March 2014 and concluded by the end of 2014 at 20 medical centers within the Kaiser Permanente Northern California integrated health care delivery system.

Exposures  A multifaceted ERAS program designed with a particular focus on perioperative pain management, mobility, nutrition, and patient engagement.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary outcome was hospital length of stay. Secondary outcomes included hospital mortality, home discharge, 30-day readmission rates, and complication rates.

Results  The study included a total of 3768 patients undergoing elective colorectal resection (mean [SD] age, 62.7 [14.1] years; 1812 [48.1%] male) and 5002 patients undergoing emergency hip fracture repair (mean [SD] age, 79.5 [11.8] years; 1586 [31.7%] male). Comparator surgical patients included 5556 patients undergoing elective gastrointestinal surgery and 1523 patients undergoing emergency orthopedic surgery. Most process metrics had significantly greater changes in the ERAS target populations after implementation compared with comparator surgical populations, including those for ambulation, nutrition, and opioid use. Hospital length of stay and postoperative complication rates were also significantly lower among ERAS target populations after implementation. The rate ratios for postoperative complications were 0.68 (95% CI, 0.46-0.99; P = .04) for patients undergoing colorectal resection and 0.67 (95% CI, 0.45-0.99, P = .05) for patients with hip fracture. Among patients undergoing colorectal resection, ERAS implementation was associated with decreased rates of hospital mortality (0.17; 95% CI, 0.03-0.86; P = .03), whereas among patients with hip fracture, implementation was associated with increased rates of home discharge (1.24; 95% CI, 1.06-1.44; P = .007).

Conclusions and Relevance  Multicenter implementation of an ERAS program among patients undergoing elective colorectal resection and patients undergoing emergency hip fracture repair successfully altered processes of care and was associated with significant absolute and relative decreases in hospital length of stay and postoperative complication rates. Rapid, large-scale implementation of a multidisciplinary ERAS program is feasible and effective in improving surgical outcomes.

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