Background and objectives A clinical trial in 93 National Health Service hospitals evaluated a quality improvement programme for emergency abdominal surgery, designed to improve mortality by improving the patient care pathway. Large variation was observed in implementation approaches, and the main trial result showed no mortality reduction. Our objective therefore was to evaluate whether trial participation led to care pathway implementation and to study the relationship between care pathway implementation and use of six recommended implementation strategies.
Methods We performed a hospital-level time-series analysis using data from the Enhanced Peri-Operative Care for High-risk patients trial. Care pathway implementation was defined as achievement of >80% median reliability in 10 measured care processes. Mean monthly process performance was plotted on run charts. Process improvement was defined as an observed run chart signal, using probability-based ‘shift’ and ‘runs’ rules. A new median performance level was calculated after an observed signal.
Results Of 93 participating hospitals, 80 provided sufficient data for analysis, generating 800 process measure charts from 20 305 patient admissions over 27 months. No hospital reliably implemented all 10 processes. Overall, only 279 of the 800 processes were improved (3 (2–5) per hospital) and 14/80 hospitals improved more than six processes. Mortality risk documented (57/80 (71%)), lactate measurement (42/80 (53%)) and cardiac output guided fluid therapy (32/80 (40%)) were most frequently improved. Consultant-led decision making (14/80 (18%)), consultant review before surgery (17/80 (21%)) and time to surgery (14/80 (18%)) were least frequently improved. In hospitals using ≥5 implementation strategies, 9/30 (30%) hospitals improved ≥6 care processes compared with 0/11 hospitals using ≤2 implementation strategies.
Conclusion Only a small number of hospitals improved more than half of the measured care processes, more often when at least five of six implementation strategies were used. In a longer term project, this understanding may have allowed us to adapt the intervention to be effective in more hospitals.
- Emergency surgery
- Quality Improvement
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Collaborators Enhanced Perioperative Care for High-risk patients (EPOCH) Trial Group: Ruper Pearse, Carol Peden, Tim Stephens, Julian Bion, Graham Martin, Ann Thomson, Brennan Kahan, Sally Kerry, Kate Rivett, Duncan Wells, Gerry Richardson, Stephen Brett, Gareth Ackland, Mike Grocott, Peter Holt, Glenn Robert, Obioha Ukoumunne, Justin Waring, Kirsty Everingham, Mandeep Phull, David Cromwell, Rachel Evley, Richard Lilford, David Kocman, Miqdad Asaria, Justin Waring, Carolyn Tarrant, Fan Yang, Ajit Abraham, Pieter Bothma, Daniel Conway, Clare Stapleton, Mark Edwards, Gary Minto, David Saunders, Tom Owen, Carl Waldmann, Paul Hayden, Michael Gillies, Sean Tighe, Neil Smith, Monty Mythen, David Murray, Dileep Lobo, Martin Leuwer, Justin Kirk-Bayley, Simon Howell, Anthony Gordon, Iain Anderson, Jose Lourtie, Simon Walker, Sharon Drake, Dave Murray, Nick Watson, Tamas Szakmany, Robert Sutcliffe, Ravi Mahajan, Alan Girling, Gordon Forbes, Omar Faiz, Mark Blunt, Surjait Singh, Alistair Steel, Kate Wong, Leilani Cabreros, Pieter Bothma, Vivek Chitre, Ayodele Obideyi, Dhiraj Ali, Karl Blenk, Dan Broad, Andreas Brodbeck, Rajesh Dumpala, Arnth Engel, Ranjit Ganepola, Sudha Garg, Mike Gay, Michael Karlikowsk, Edward Lams, Dean Millican, Inga Misane, Ajaya Mull, Veena Naik, Nathan Pushpa, Chris Nutt, Saravanna Sagadai, Hazel Stuart, Paul Noble, Niko Van De Velde, Liam Hudson, Raoul Benlloch, Satish Singh, Karan Verma, Damian Laba, Jack Carmichael, Peter Richardson, Graham Wilson, Ricky Lewis, Karthik Surendran, Essam El-Damatty, Sarada Gurung, Ilona Raulusaite, Nabua Gerstina, Chloe Rochester, Rai Kuldip, Andrew Lindner, Therese Murray, Vivek Chitre, Roshan Lal, Sarah Downey, Vamsi Velchuru, Kamal Aryal, Raman Guruswamy, Kirosh Shankar, Helen Porter, Matthew Tutton, Helen Agostini, Simon Fletcher, Richard Wharton, Steve Hutchinson, Bala Maiya, Richard Howard-Griffin, Michael Crabtree, Vlad Kushakovsky, Abdel Omer, Senthil Nadarajavan, Stephanie Bell, Vishal Patil, Asif Jah, Razeen Mahroof, Nicholas Watson, John Tansley, Gareth Moncaster, Neil Flint, Andrew Miller, Marcus Wood, Andreou Prematie, Sally Roth, Sarah Bowery, Dawn Hales, Tanuja Shah, Gill Tierney, Craig Morris, Syed Iftikhar, Amit Shukla, Grainne O'Dwyer, Adam Wolverson, Ferdinand Adams, Laura Perrin-Brown, Tim White, Sarah Beavis, Victoria Banks, John Abercrombie, Jonathon Mole, Avninder Chana, Ayan Banerjea, David Humes, Rajpal Dhingsa, John Wells, Stephanie Brown, Kenneth Adegoke, Barclay Tofte, Ana Alegria, Nat Natarajan, Mansoor Akhtar, Samer Doughan, John Mackinnon, Biju Aravind, Esther Cook, Mark Snazelle, Matt Gardner, Lee Baldwin, Simon Bailey, Greg Lawton, Nandita Divekar, Neil Kukreja, Mansoor Sange, Mark Watson, Mallikarjunappa Satisha, Michael Protopapas, Zakaulla Belagodu, Shameem Sarfi, Pasupathy Raju, Brenda Stacey, Tim Campbell-Smith, Simon Parrington, Somi Desikan, Andrew Brennan, John Griffith, Steve Fletcher, Catherine Farrow, Stewart Prestwich, Laura Graham, Martin Northey, Jay Gokhale, Frances Mosley, Peter Alexander, Abhiram Sharma, Will Brady, John Hopper, Oliver Hill, Sandeep Varma, Christopher Macklin, Alastair Rose, Harjeet Narula, Sarah Buckley, Karen Simeson, Kevin Sim, Michael Chadwick, Preeti Kuduvalli, Susan Dowling, Amanda McCairn, Lawrence Wilson, Dale Vimalchandran, Anita Jhamatt, Nicole Robin, David Monk, Martin Leuwer, David Bottomley, Oliver Zuzan, Ingeborg Welters, Davina Ross-Anderson, Charles Knowles, Nick Bunker, Ying Hu, Marta Januszewska, Phoebe Bodger, Edyta Niebrzegowska, Carmen Correia, Richard Haslop, Tom Abbott, Tabitha Tanqueray, Sanjay Wijeykoon, Susan Jain, Jens Full, Tamzin Cuming, Flora Bailey, Stelios Chatzimichail, Pedro Cunha, Almas Rehman, Manab Mohanty, Nicola Radford, Otto Mohr, Hitesh Patel, Dolores Mateo, Ashok Raj, Michael Machesney, Nazar Abdul, Kim Jemmet, Marta Campbell, David Inglis, Thomas Parker, Thomas Medici, Peter Chan, Nathan Borgeaud, Dipankar Mukherjee, Oluremi Odejinmi, Tomas Jovaisa, Elizabeth Harwood, Ramani Moonesinghe, Jonathan Mccullough, Jigna Modha, Sanjiv Patel, James Limb, Sheshagiri Bengeri, Amir Rafi, Elizabeth Hall, James Brown, Bruce Gibson, Una McNelis, Mike Bradburn, Maria Lawson, Sara Pick, Matthew Gaughan, David Browell, Vanessa Linnett, Jenny Ritzema, Paul O'Loughlin, Sean Cope, John Corson, Alistair Roy, Julie Furneval, Anitha Holtham, Sophie Noblett, Chris Dawson, Elizabeth Hall, Mike Bradburn, Fiona McMenemie, David Saunders, Stefan Pulsa, Ian Clement, Verity Calder, Katherine Allen, Catherine Rimmer, Helen Reed, Christine Boyd, Diane Monkhouse, Peter Davies, Jost Mullenheim, Emanuel Cirstea, Martyn Cain, Kirsty Baillie, Tom Owen, Arnab Bhowmick, Keiarash Jovestani, Sean Mcmullan, Emma Durant, Alexandra Williams, Donna Doyle, Jason Cupitt, Jonathon Barker, Nick Harper, Emma Brennan, Daren Subar, Robert Shawcross, Dominic Sebastian, Panna Patel, Gillian O'Connell, Jyrki Karvonen, Maitra Ishaan, Alison Hool, Karen Burns, Carol Mcarthur, Tezas Stergios, Singh Gursevak, Makvana Sonia, Heather Pratt, Kaighan Lynne, Sean McAfee, Chris Lewis, Wael Khalaf, Chris Coldwell, Christine Bronder, Mark Wilkinson, Emma Davis, Glenn Arnold, Paul Ziprin, Rachel Bartlett, Martin Stotz, Rovan D'souza, Phillippa Pemberton, Banwari Agarwal, Anita Sugavanam, Melanie Tan, Massimo Varcada, Craig Lyness, Andrew Thorniley, Ash Prabhudesai, Ruth Griffin, Shubha Vashisht, James Harris, Julie Wakeford, Sergei Vaganov, Yasser Mohsen, Alister Myers, Qamar Iqbal, Simon Harris, Sami Ijaz, James Burrow, Paul Ziprin, Francesca Rubulotta, James Burrow, Nabil El-Masry, Nicola Stranix, Tamsin Rope, Lampros Liasis, Tariq Husain, Josef Watfah, Megan Griffiths, Janindra Warusavitarne, Charles Cartwright, Linden Baxter, Rakhee Visavadia, Malcolm Sim, Chris Wilson, Paul Harrison, Dewi Williams, Maria Bews-Hair, Wayne Wrathall, Catherine Jardine, Paul Mclaren, Fanus Dreyer, Paddy Collins, Jennifer Edwards, Susan Moug, Kevin Rooney, Erin Mcilveen, Steven Henderson, Linda Graham, Gail Stark, Lynn Taylor, Mark Munro, Lynn Stewart, Natalie Dickinson, Laura Rooney, Lindsay Bailey, Diane Murray, Tim Geary, Simon Gibson, Colin Pow, Kerwei Tan, Richard Stevenson, Ewen Harrison, Peter Lamb, Kate Carey, Laura Fitton, Fabian Cook, Magen Schwarz, Alan Morrison, Gavin Bryce, Khaled Razouk, Kathryn Cain, Gudrun Kunst, Savvas Papagrigoriadis, Phil Hopkins, Adrian Fawcet, Britta O'Carroll-Kuehn, Amira Girgis, Stas Janokowski, Sami Farhat, Stella Vig, Nada Hadi, Anthony Parsons, Maurizio Cecconi, David Melville, Richard Hartopp, Justin Woods, Isabella Karat, David Gerrard, Edward Curtis, Krishnamurthy Somasekar, Tom Morgan-Jones, Michael Martin, Mark Henwood, Gordon Milne, Ajit Sivasankaranand, Alexandra Scott, Xavier Escofet, Piroska Toth-Tarsoly, Majed Al Shama, Valerie Hilton, Huw Davis, Gail Williams, Tim Harvard, Peter Fitzgerald, Dom Hurford, Tamas Szakmany, Babu Muthuswamy, Gethin Williams, Jack Parry Jones, Nick Mason, Ramesh Rajagopal, Shrisha Shenoy, Magdy Khater, Richard Morgan, Nikolaos Makris, Anil Hermandes, Andrew White, Guy Finch, Matt Outram, Jonny Wilkinson, Jennifer Spimpolo, Debbie Shaw, Marion Obichere, Giovanni Brescia, Flavia Menezes, Helena Stafford, Malcolm Watters, Chris Thorn, Julian Stone, Sam Andrews, Nicola Lythell, Helen Langton, Clare Stapleton, Stephen Baxter, Roy Fernandes, Rame Sunthareswaran, Alastair Ankers, Kumar Panikkar, Simon Sleight, Belinda Cornforth, Louise Bell, Phil Dodd, Fenella Welsh, Geoff Watson, Frankie Dorman, Guy Nash, James Bromilow, Fran Haigh, David Pogson, Stuart Mercer, Vanessa Tucker, Carolyn Way, James Kirby-Bott, Jenny McLachan, Rob Chambers, Rachael Craven, Jane Blazeby, Dan Freshwater-Turner, Lorna Burrows, Helen Howes, Iain Christie, Mark Coleman, Gary Minto, Sam Waddy, Grant Sanders, Abigail Patrick, Catherine Pitman, Susan Tyson, Hannah Smith, Guy Rousseau, Mark Cartmell, Jan Hanousek, Nigel Hollister, Lynsey Kightly, Mark Pulletz, Anjay Talwar, Susie Baker, Ruth Thomas, Richard Gibbs, Hamish Noble, Joseph Silsby, Helen Black, Thomas Evans, Robert DeBrunner, Nicola Cook, Stacy Hodges, Amanda Stevens, Rowena Felipe, Jonathan Paddle, Denzil May, Alison Pickford, Sid Riddington, Olga Tucker, Simon Smart, Jeremy Marwick, Nigel Suggett, Ewen Griffiths, David Riddington, Kathryn Gill, Neil Cruickshank, Jay Susarla, Emma Leno, Julie Colley, Andrew Burtenshaw, Stephen Lake, Jamie Greenwood, Sian Bhardwaj, Jessica Thrush, Julie Wollaston, Julian Sonksen, Rajan Patel, Adrian Jennings, David Stanley, Jenny Wright, Chris Horner, Faisal Baig, Katie Cooke, Jagdeep Singh, Andrew Claxton, Nazzia Mirza, Simon Hester, Georgia Knight, Peeyush Kumar, Taj Saran, Gabriele Marangoni, Roger Townsend, Andy Thacker, Anne Scase, Meghna Sharma and Beth Hale.
Contributors RMP, CJP, GPM, TS and the Enhanced Peri-Operative Care for High-risk patients (EPOCH) Trial group all contributed to protocol development and design of the EPOCH trial. DM, MPWG, SH, DC, SD, CJ and JL supported the EPOCH trial (data acquisition) through the National Emergency Laparotomy Audit database. TS conceived the idea for this paper, collated the data and led the analysis and write-up of results. RH contributed to the data analysis. All authors critically revised the content of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Funding The EPOCH trial was funded by the National Institute of Health Research of the UK (HS&DR – 12/5005/10). TS received a scholarship from the Florence Nightingale Foundation during the data analysis and writing of this manuscript.
Disclaimer The funder had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; or in the preparation, review or approval of the manuscript.
Competing interests TS, CJP, RMP and GPM received grant funding to design, deliver and evaluate the EPOCH trial. RP holds research grants and has given lectures and/or performed consultancy work for Nestle Health Sciences, BBraun, Medtronic and Edwards Lifesciences and is a member of the Associate editorial board of the British Journal of Anaesthesia. DM, CJ and SH received programmed activities for the roles in the NELA Project Team. MPWG received programmed activities for their role in the NELA Project Team, is a medical adviser for Sphere Medical Ltd and director of Oxygen Control Systems Ltd and received an honorarium and travel expenses from Edwards Lifesciences in 2016. TS received a scholarship from the Florence Nightingale Foundation during the data analysis and writing of this manuscript.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval The Enhanced Peri-Operative Care for High-risk patients trial was approved by the Research Ethics Committee of the National Health Service (REC reference 13/EM/0415).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request. Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available.
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