Medical College of Wisconsin
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Six Sigma Methodology and Postoperative Information Reporting: A Multidisciplinary Quality Improvement Study With Interrupted Time-Series Regression. J Surg Educ 2019 Jul - Aug;76(4):1048-1067



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OBJECTIVE: The postoperative handover is often compromised by reporting inconsistencies between different specialties. We describe a multidisciplinary quality improvement initiative to improve postoperative information reporting.

DESIGN: A quality improvement project with interrupted time-series data collection was undertaken in the postanesthesia care unit between January 2015 and August 2015. We utilized Six Sigma methodology to engage multispecialty stakeholders in identifying deficiencies in the existing postoperative handover process in January 2015. A standardized handover process including a checklist and electronic handover note was implemented within a postanesthesia care unit in June 2015. Direct observations of handovers were conducted to determine reporting accuracy, handover duration, and specialty representative attendance. Segmented linear and logistic regression analyses were used for interrupted time-series data.

SETTING: Single postanesthesia care unit at an academic tertiary referral center.

PARTICIPANTS: Physician trainees in anesthesia (n = 82) and surgical subspecialties (n = 139), certified registered nurse anesthetists (n = 57), and recovery room registered nurses (n = 139).

RESULTS: Cumulative handover scores increased by 18.3 points in the postimplementation period (n = 70) when compared to preimplementation handovers (n = 69), a finding which remained statistically significant after adjusting for preintervention time trends (difference 16 points; 95% confidence intervals 3-31; p = 0.021). No statistically significant difference in handover duration was seen between cohorts (6.8 minutes vs 6.1 minutes, difference 0.5 minutes; 95% confidence intervals -2.8 to 3.7; p = 0.78). Three years postimplementation, there was consistent use of a modified electronic handover note and surgical subspecialty attendance during handover.

CONCLUSIONS: A standardized handover process was associated with improved information reporting among different surgical disciplines without significantly lengthening handover duration.

Author List

Shah AC, Herstein AR, Flynn-O'Brien KT, Oh DC, Xue AH, Flanagan MR


Katherine T. Flynn-O'Brien MD, MPH Assistant Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Academic Medical Centers
Confidence Intervals
Interdisciplinary Communication
Interrupted Time Series Analysis
Logistic Models
Patient Care Team
Patient Handoff
Postoperative Care
Quality Improvement
Research Design
Tertiary Care Centers
United States