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6 Anesthesia Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to Track and Benchmark

Amber Smith

February 27, 2019 By Amber Smith

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Anesthesia KPIs

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 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 metrics, so they receive the attention they deserve. Use of an analytics solution can help identify those KPIs worthy of increased scrutiny and support efforts to internally benchmark your data.

Here are six worthwhile anesthesia 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

One 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 this 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 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). 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 KPI is whether anesthesia providers are capturing patient temperatures according to your timeliness standards. If this 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. Post-Op 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 his or her surgery was successful. Tracking this KPI — and digging into it using an analytics solution — can help you implement changes that can have an immediate impact on patient satisfaction scores.

Perhaps the most obvious method of tracking this KPI is examining PONV percentage over time for all patients. Implementing effective changes will 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, you can assess their approach to determine how they are able to deliver 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).

4. Percentage of ICU Cases

Inevitably, you will experience instances where, as soon as the intraoperative phase is completed, instead of the patient moving on to the post-op/recovery phase, he or she will need be sent directly to the intensive care unit (ICU). It's valuable to know the overall percentage of your cases that require such a transfer.

With an analytics solution, you can examine the metric further. For these ICU 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 suffers. 

For example, using an analytics solution, you can compare how two pairings perform from the time a patient is wheeled in until induction time is documented. 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 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 KPIs That Really Matter

While there are some standard anesthesia 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 KPIs an organization can choose to track and benchmark. While this may sound overwhelming, such a solution, perhaps more importantly, can help an organization pinpoint what KPIs deserve increased monitoring.

An analytics solution provides tremendous access to 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 result can be powerful as your operating room experiences higher quality care that delivers stronger outcomes and a better overall patient, provider, and staff experience.

Case Study: OrthoIndy Hospital Automates Paper Anesthesia Processes

Topics: Anesthesia

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