Perioperative Surgical Home: Evaluation of a New Protocol Focused on a Multidisciplinary Approach to Manage Children Undergoing Posterior Spinal Fusion Operation

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The concept of Perioperative Surgical Home has been gaining significant attention in surgical centers. This model is delivering and improving coordinated care in a cost-effective manner to patients undergoing surgical procedures. It starts with the decision for surgical intervention, continues to the intraoperative and postoperative periods, and follows into long-term recovery. Constant re-evaluation of outcomes and modifications of delivery provides a feedback loop for improvement. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles initiated a new protocol in June 2014 to manage children undergoing Posterior Spinal Fusion (PSF) with the goal to improve patient experience and lower the hospital length of stay and cost.


A retrospective chart review identified patients who underwent a PSF for idiopathic scoliosis before and after initiation of a new treatment protocol designed by a team of anesthesiologists, surgeons, nurses, and physical therapists. The new protocol included preoperative teaching of parents and patients, intraoperative anesthetic and surgical management, and immediate to long-term postoperative medical management. In addition to demographics, we examined length of stay, cost of hospitalization, pain scores on discharge, length of patient-controlled analgesia use, time to first solid food intake, and time to ambulation.


Thirty-six patients were identified preinitiation and postinitiation of the protocol (total n = 72). There was no statistically significant difference in age, sex, use of intrathecal morphine, or estimated blood loss. Patients enrolled in the new protocol had higher American Society of Anesthesiologists classification (P = .003), significantly lower duration of patient-controlled analgesia use, time to first solid food intake, and time to ambulation (P= .001). The pain scores were higher at the time of discharge, although the difference was not statistically significant. Length of stay was significantly shorter in the new protocol group (P = .001), accounting for $292,560 in cost savings for the hospital.


These data show that the cooperation of different teams in designing new management guidelines for patients requiring a PSF can significantly decrease the total length of stay and cost of hospitalization without altering quality of care.

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