Measuring and Improving the Quality of Preprocedural Assessments

Manji F, McCarty K, Kurzweil V, Mark E, Rathmell JP, Agarwala AV.

Anesth Analg. 2017 Jun;124(6):1846-1854.

We are excited to see this new study from Dr. Manji who finished her residency with our Department in 2016, and received numerous awards for her research. Dr. Manji is now pursuing a Clinical Fellowship in Cardiovascular Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto. We look forward to reading many more publications and studies from Dr. Manji in the future.


BACKGROUND: Preprocedural assessments are used by anesthesia providers to optimize perioperative care for patients undergoing invasive procedures. When these assessments are performed in advance by providers who are not caring for the patient during the procedure, there is an additional layer of complexity in ensuring that the workup meets the needs of the primary anesthesia care team. In this study, anesthesia providers were asked to rate the quality of preprocedural assessments prepared by other providers to evaluate anesthesia care team satisfaction.

METHODS: Quality ratings for preprocedural assessments were collected from anesthesia providers on the day of surgery using an electronic quality assurance tool from January 9, 2014 to October 21, 2014. Users could rate assessments as “exemplary,” “satisfactory,” or “unsatisfactory.” Free text comments could be entered for any of the quality ratings chosen. A reviewer trained in clinical anesthesia categorized all comments as “positive,” “constructive,” or “neutral” and conducted in-depth chart reviews triggered by 67 “constructive” comments submitted during the first 3 months of data collection to further subcategorize perceived deficiencies in the preprocedural assessments. In May 2014, providers were asked to participate in a midpoint survey and provide general feedback about the preprocedural process and evaluations.

RESULTS: 37,611 procedures requiring anesthesia were analyzed. Of the 17,522 (46.6%) cases with a rated preprocedural assessment, anesthesia providers rated 3828 (21.8%) as “exemplary,” 13,454 (76.8%) as “satisfactory,” and 240 (1.4%) as “unsatisfactory.” The monthly proportion of “unsatisfactory” ratings ranged from 3.1% to 0% over the study period, whereas the midpoint survey showed that anesthesia providers estimated that the number of unsatisfactory evaluations was 11.5%. Preprocedural evaluations performed on inpatients received significantly better ratings than evaluations performed on outpatients by the preadmission testing clinic or phone program (P < .0001). The most common reason given for “unsatisfactory” ratings was a perception of “missing information” (49.2%). Chart reviews revealed that inadequate documentation was in reality the most common deficiency in preprocedural evaluations (35 of 67 reviews, 52.2%).

CONCLUSIONS: The overwhelming majority of preprocedural assessments performed at our institution were considered satisfactory or exemplary by day-of-surgery anesthesia providers. This was demonstrated by both the case-by-case ratings and midpoint survey. However, the perceived frequency of “unsatisfactory” evaluations was worse when providers were asked to reflect on the quality of preprocedural evaluations generally versus rate them individually. Analysis of comments left by providers allowed us to identify specific and actionable areas for improvement. This method can be used by other institutions to identify systemic deficiencies in the preprocedural evaluation process.

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