Reducing cancelations on the day of scheduled surgery at a children's hospital

Jayant Nick Pratap, Anna M. Varughese, Patti Mercurio, Terri Lynch, Teresa Lonnemann, Andrea Ellis, John Rugg, W. Ray Stone, Cindi Bedinghaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Cancelation on the day of surgery (DoSC) represents a costly wastage of operating room (OR) time and causes inconvenience, emotional distress, and financial cost to families. A quality improvement project sought to reduce lost OR time due to cancelation. METHODS: Key drivers of the process included effective 2-way communication with families, compliance with fasting rules, and decision-making on patient illness before the day of surgery. A multidisciplinary team conducted serial tests of change addressing the various key drivers. Interventions were simplified, colorful, personalized preoperative instruction sheets and textmessage reminders to caregivers' cellphones, as well as a defined institutional decision-making pathway to permit rescheduling before the day of surgery in case of patient illness concerns. After initial smaller-scale testing, the interventions were implemented across all patients and sites. Data were collected from the hospital information technology system and analyzed by using control charts and statistical process control methods. RESULTS: Mean OR time lost due to DoSC was decreased from a baseline of 5.7 to 3.6 hours/day in testing with a subset of surgical services at the hospital's base campus, and then from 6.6 hours to 5.5 hours/day when implemented across all services at both surgical sites. CONCLUSIONS: By applying quality improvement methods, significant reductions were made in time lost due to DoSC. The impact can be significant by improving institutional resource utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1292-e1299
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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