The Benefits of Streamlined Hip Fracture Management in a Regional Hospital

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Abstract

Introduction:

Hip fracture is an increasingly common injury in the growing elderly population. The morbidity and mortality associated with this injury can be reduced by minimizing delays to surgical treatment. We describe the impact of a regional hospital service redesign project that utilized the principles of smart simplicity, a management strategy that lays emphasis on collaboration to achieve desired goals.

Methods:

Prior to the redesign, patients with hip fractures were taking an average of 72 hours for surgical treatment. A hip fracture working group was created to examine closely the process of hip fracture care, and a single key performance indicator (KPI) of “surgery within 48 hours” was adopted. This allowed identification of processes that could be clarified and streamlined, with the agreement of relevant stakeholders, in the creation of a new hip fracture pathway.

Results:

In the first 3 months of the pathway’s implementation, 16 of 18 patients had surgery within 48 hours of presentation. In a 6-month follow-up audit after 2 years of implementation, 36 of 39 patients were treated within 48 hours. This was significantly different to the time to surgery seen in the 12 months prior to the redesign (P < .001, Student t test). The mean time to surgery was reduced from 72 hours to 36 hours, a saving in an annual acute bed stay cost of A$152 000.

Discussion:

Decreased time to the operating room, the cost savings inherent to this, can be achieved with the introduction of the best standard of care. A redesign that mandates collaboration in achieving a single KPI has allowed a significant culture shift in the treatment of hip fractures in our institution in the months following its institution.

Conclusion:

Collaborative, multidisciplinary collaboration has facilitated a higher standard of care and demonstrated significant cost benefit.

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