The Growth Channel

The checklist proven to improve cardiac surgery program efficiency

by Jessica Wen

A readiness checklist developed by the Northern New England Cardiovascular Disease Study Group (NNECDSG) has been shown to drastically reduce length of stay (LOS) and intubation times after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.  In this post, we outline how to harness checklists, such as this one, to enhance patient management and increase efficiency.

Declining CABG volumes push leaders to seek alternative strategies

As CABG surgery volumes continue to decline, it is imperative that hospitals effectively manage their current CABG patient population.  Increasingly, hospital leaders are evaluating how they can improve their preoperative processes to enhance efficiency and optimize patient outcomes.  To this end, the NNECDSG’s checklist was developed as a quality improvement initiative to decrease mortality.  This checklist focuses on optimizing a patient’s readiness for surgery through seven clinical factors such as preoperative beta-blocker use and glucose levels.

The NNECDSG checklist was shown to reduce the mortality rate among CABG patients by nearly three percent.  Additionally, studies showed that using this checklist allowed hospitals to reduce intubation time by approximately three and a half hours and reduce LOS by two days. 

Checklists improve hospital processes, enhance efficiency

Using these checklists to improve patient care, however, is not a new concept.  In fact, checklists have been revolutionizing health care processes for a while now.  Checklists have been proven to reduce patient mortality rates and LOS, all while enhancing multidisciplinary communication and collaboration.  Furthermore, these checklists provide hospitals with an outlet for standardizing care across the care continuum—often a major issue for large hospitals and other parties.

These checklists provide hospitals with additional tools to manage resource-intensive patient populations.  Ultimately, as hospitals are under a tremendous amount of pressure to accommodate the needs of their ever-growing patient population, checklists offer an easy way to increase efficiency and streamline processes. 

Training and adherence protocols support successful checklist implementation

Successful implementation of checklists can help hospitals enhance care quality. Although, staffs are sometimes reluctant to adopt new processes, and implementing these lists requires a time investment. In order to realize the full value of a checklist, hospitals must ensure that their staff is properly trained on the relevant procedures and that they adhere to this list. Staff engagement is crucial. Consider developing checklist formation processes or outcome incentives to engage staff. Furthermore, as checklists often require multidisciplinary collaboration, ensure that the staff members are equipped with the necessary communication channels.

Want to improve your CV program efficiency? Reach out to your Dedicated Advisor for information on our custom Cardiovascular Care Pathway Audit and Cath Lab Efficiency Assessment.

Optimizing the Cardiovascular Patient Experience

CV providers need to transform care in a way that places patients and families at the center. This transformation is a two-step process—first, building a strong foundation for patient-centered care, then using it to encourage greater engagement.

Use our tactics to develop and leverage a patient-centered care infrastructure that supports long-term patient engagement.