The predictors of Enhanced Recovery After Surgery utilization and practice variations in elective colorectal surgery: a provincial survey
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BACKGROUND: Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocols use evidence-based perioperative practices that reduce morbidity and length of stay and improve patient satisfaction. ERAS is considered standard of care; however, utilization remains low and substantial practice variation exists. The aim of this study was to pragmatically characterize variation in colorectal surgery practice and identify predictors of ERAS utilization. METHODS: A survey of general surgeons identified using the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons database was conducted. Information on basic demographic characteristics, utilization of ERAS and predictors of ERAS implementation was collected. Nine ERAS behaviours were analyzed. Multivariable analysis was used to determine effects of demographic, hospital and surgeon covariates on ERAS utilization. RESULTS: Seven hundred and ninety-seven general surgeons were invited to participate in the survey, and 235 general surgeons representing 84 Ontario hospitals responded (30% response rate). Surgeons practising in academic settings and in large community hospitals represented 30% and 47% of the respondents, respectively. A total of 20% of the respondents used all 9 ERAS behaviours consistently. Rates of diet advancement on postoperative day 0, intravenous fluid restriction and having catheter and line procedures were significantly higher among respondents who adhered to ERAS protocols than among those who did not (74% v. 54%, p = 0.004; 92% v. 80%, p = 0.01; and 91% v. 41%, p < 0.001, respectively). Respondents from academic settings reported practising nearly 1 more ERAS behaviour than those from small community hospitals (odds ratio [OR] 0.86, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.42 to 1.31, p < 0.001). Multivariable analysis demonstrated that colorectal fellowship training or exposure to ERAS during training did not significantly affect ERAS behaviour utilization (OR 0.32, 95% CI -0.31 to 0.94, p = 0.16; OR 0.28, 95% CI -0.26 to 0.82, p = 0.16, respectively). CONCLUSION: Substantial practice variation in colorectal surgery still exists. Individual ERAS principles are commonly followed; however, ERAS behaviours are not widely formalized into hospital protocols.
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