A growing body of evidence has shown that delays in emergency surgery are linked to a host of adverse outcomes for patients and providers. A recent study published in the Canadian medical journal CMAJ is further exposing the realities of the problem – finding that 19% of the patients studied experienced surgical delays as well as post-operative hospitalizations that were 1.1 days longer and cost the hospital $1,409 more than patients who did not have to wait for surgery.
Surgical Affiliates surgical hospitalist programs address the growing and serious problem of surgical delays by providing hospitals with the resources and expertise that allow emergency operations to be performed more quickly – leading to improved outcomes for patients and hospitals.
Round-the-Clock Availability of Surgicalists Improves Patient Outcomes
In providing our hospital partners with a dedicated, in-house team of board-certified trauma and acute care surgeons delivering round-the-clock care in accordance with evidence-based guidelines, operations are performed more quickly – eliminating the need to locate an on-call surgeon that may result in delays in care and increased risk of complications for patients. And because our surgicalists provide acute care surgery within designated, on-duty shifts, emergency patients at surgical-staffed hospitals receive focused, dedicated surgical care without delays or interruptions, supporting better outcomes for patients and improved performance for hospitals. To further enhance surgeon availability, each of our surgicalist programs is supported and led by a local medical director focused on maintaining high-quality standards and efficient clinic operations – alleviating administrative duties from the surgical team and allowing surgeons to focus more of their time on patient care.
Our Surgicalist Programs Are Associated with Decreased Length of Stay
Decreased length of stay is a key improvement directly related to the availability of 24/7 acute surgical care that is the cornerstone of our surgical hospitalist programs. Because emergency patients undergo surgery without delays, throughput within the hospital is typically improved and the availability of beds increases. Also inherent in the improved length of stay metric is increased quality of care, as eliminating surgical delays reduces complication rates and improves outcomes for patients. Improvement in the length of stay metric is well documented in peer-reviewed data from a five-year study of a Surgical Affiliates Surgical Hospitalist program with Sutter Memorial Medical Center published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons (JACS). Over the five-year period, the JACS study showed that length of stay declined 12%, from an average of 6.5 days at the start of the program to a low of 5.7 days.
Further Insights from the CMAJ Study
In 86% of the cases in the CMAJ study with documented reasons for surgical delay, researchers found that most delays were due to system issues, such as physician, nurse, and operating room unavailability. Our surgicalist programs help to fill these critical medical personnel gaps in providing hospitals with a team of highly qualified surgeons, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants delivering 24/7 services according to evidence-based medical protocols – eliminating emergency surgical delays, reducing patient complications and length of stay, and improving hospital performance.