Impact of a Common Clinical Pathway on Length of Hospital Stay in Patients Undergoing Open and Minimally Invasive Kidney Surgery
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PURPOSE: Clinical pathways are designed to reduce variability in patient care practices and improve clinical outcomes. We evaluated the effect of implementing a clinical care pathway on length of stay in patients undergoing kidney surgery. MATERIALS AND METHODS: After receiving institutional review board approval we evaluated prospective data on consecutive cases of partial and radical nephrectomy performed at our institution from 2000 to 2011. We identified 1,775 partial nephrectomies (1,449 open and 326 minimally invasive) and 1,025 radical nephrectomies (857 open and 168 minimally invasive). We used multivariate linear regression to test for an interaction between procedure type and surgery before vs after the clinical pathway was begun. RESULTS: Median length of stay decreased 40% (from 5 to 3 days) for open surgery and 33% (from 3 to 2 days) for minimally invasive surgery after clinical pathway implementation. Length of stay in patients treated with minimally invasive or open partial nephrectomy and open radical nephrectomy decreased while it remained stable in those who underwent minimally invasive radical nephrectomy. The difference in length of stay between open and minimally invasive partial nephrectomy before and after implementing the clinical pathway decreased by 1.5 days (95% CI 0.56-2.5, p = 0.002). At 30 days postoperatively major complication rates remained similar. CONCLUSIONS: The clinical pathway resulted in a significantly shorter length of stay in patients treated with partial and radical nephrectomy without a discernible impact on safety or quality of care. Clinical pathways for kidney surgery should be used and continually optimized to enhance efficiency, patient safety and outcomes.
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