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Track these six key metrics using an ASC analytics solution to help you monitor your anesthesia provider's performance

Tracking anesthesia key performance indicators (KPIs) is critical to ensuring your anesthesia providers deliver the quality services that support optimal outcomes and high levels of patient satisfaction. Measuring anesthesia quality KPIs can tell you if anesthesia provider performance is up to your organization's standard of excellence and help pinpoint the best opportunities for quantifiable improvement.

There are numerous KPIs you can track, which may feel overwhelming. It is imperative to carefully select the most important anesthesia quality metrics. Doing so will help ensure these KPIs receive the attention they deserve while reducing the time and energy spent focusing on less significant metrics. Use of an analytics solution can help identify those anesthesia quality KPIs worthy of increased scrutiny and support efforts to internally benchmark your data.

Essential Anesthesia Quality Metrics

Here are six worthwhile anesthesia quality KPIs to track, with an explanation of how using an analytics solution can help more effectively scrutinize and benchmark the KPI data captured.

1. Normothermia

This KPI associated with temperature management tracks whether a patient's temperature shifts outside of what your organization determines will be its "normal range," which can indicate an increased likelihood of patient harm. While it is preferable to keep the normothermia metric at zero percent (i.e., no patient's temperature was ever abnormal), it is not unusual for some patients to experience abnormal temperatures.

An analytics solution can help you dive into this anesthesia quality metric to determine when such instances occur, which of your anesthesia providers was caring for the patient with the abnormal temperature, and case details that may have contributed to the abnormal temperature (e.g., procedure type, patient age, patient ASA score). Using this information, you can begin to make policy and process changes that can improve your normothermia KPI.

You may also determine that the cause for the abnormal temperature was a documentation error. If that's the case, you can then follow up with the associated anesthesia provider to adjust the patient's chart accordingly.

2. Temperature timeliness

What you are looking at with this anesthesia quality metric is whether anesthesia providers are capturing patient temperatures according to your timeliness standards. If data capture occurs outside the window considered timely, this potentially puts patients at increased risk if they experience abnormal temperatures when tracking is not occurring.

A timely temperature capture typically occurs within the 15 minutes immediately after PACU start time. If the patient does not go to PACU, a timely temperature capture occurs 30 minutes immediately after anesthesia end time. A delayed capturing of temperature would reduce the timeliness percentage. Using an analytics solution can help you identify which of your anesthesia providers do not consistently capture patient temperature "on time" and require assistance to improve their performance and patient safety in the process.

3. Postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV)

Any instance of PONV raises the likelihood that a patient will reflect poorly on their experience with your organization, even if their procedure delivered a positive clinical outcome. Tracking this anesthesia quality KPI — and digging into it using an analytics solution — can help you implement changes that can have an immediate impact on patient satisfaction scores.

A high-level way of tracking this KPI is by examining PONV percentage over time for all patients. Implementing effective changes will help bring and keep this percentage down.

Going a level deeper, consider the ability to track PONV occurrence by anesthesia provider and anesthesia type. If one or more providers have a PONV percentage above the mean for your organization, you can compare their practices to those with better scores to determine why their approach may be contributing to the higher rate of incident. If you have one or more providers with a PONV percentage well below the mean, assess their approach to determine how they can achieve more preferable results.

Now consider the ability to analyze PONV percentage by patient characteristics and case details. You may find that your organization needs to reassess its approach to PONV management for specific types of patients (e.g., older, higher ASA score, presence of comorbidities) or characteristics of cases (e.g., procedure type, length, level of invasiveness). With more insight into the factors influencing this anesthesia quality metrics, you can better target improvement efforts.

4. Percentage of ICU cases

Inevitably, you will experience instances where the intraoperative phase is followed by a patient going directly to the intensive care unit (ICU) instead of moving on to the post-op/recovery phase. It's valuable to know the overall percentage of your cases that require such a transfer.

With an analytics solution, you can examine the percentage of ICU cases metric further. For these cases, are there similarities in details? Are they associated with a specific procedure(s), anesthesia provider(s), or surgeon(s)? As you identify themes, it will be easier to implement and measure the effectiveness of solutions.

5. Anesthesia provider and surgeon productivity

By comparing productivity between surgeon and anesthesia provider pairings for the same procedure, you can work to optimize your schedule, teaming up personnel that thrive together and avoiding teaming personnel where performance declines. 

Using an analytics solution, you can compare how two pairings perform from the time a patient is wheeled in until induction time is documented, for example. Other possible areas of comparison: induction to incision time, anesthesia duration, surgery duration, and PACU duration.

6. Medication administration

When you routinely collect data concerning medication administration, you gain the ability to perform a wide range of hypothesis testing around combinations of drugs administered and how they may affect the surgical outcome and quality of the patient experience.

Take the recovery phase of care. Let's say most patients receive propofol, but some anesthesia providers choose to administer lidocaine alongside propofol. By tracking this information, together with anesthesia quality metrics such as PACU duration and PONV, you gain the ability to determine whether one medication combination is more effective than others at achieving desired results. 

Select Anesthesia Quality KPIs That Really Matter

While there are some standard anesthesia quality KPIs that most organizations will want to track, some of which are discussed above, use of an analytics solution greatly expands the number and types of metrics an organization can choose to track and benchmark. This may sound overwhelming, but such a solution can help an organization pinpoint what KPIs deserve increased monitoring and better support ongoing tracking of performance improvement efforts and their results.

An analytics solution provides tremendous access to anesthesia quality data and metrics. When wielded effectively, analytics can shine a light on areas in need of improvement and serve to influence and change behaviors. The results can be powerful when your operating room experiences higher quality care that delivers stronger outcomes and a better overall patient, provider, and staff experience.