Johns Hopkins awarded millions to share quality methods with 750 hospitals

The Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality in Baltimore has been awarded a federal contract potentially worth $16 million to educate providers at 750 hospitals across the nation on enhanced recovery after surgery protocols.

The program is funded by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The contract is slated to begin with an initial $4 million investment for the first year with three one-year options for renewal of $4 million each. The American College of Surgeons will collaborate in the effort and recruit the participating hospitals, according to The Baltimore Sun.

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While the ERAS protocols have existed for years and are used widely in Europe, Johns Hopkins took a novel implementation approach when the hospital adopted the protocols in 2013. The hospital combined ERAS practices with AHRQ's Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program, which is a five-step culture change designed to engage frontline providers in the reduction of patient harm. The combination of both safety initiatives led to a 1.5-day length of stay reduction, a $1,500 cost reduction and a 50 percent decrease of surgical site infections among colorectal surgery patients.

"With the success of ERAS at our hospital, we are excited to share this approach with other hospitals," said Michael Rosen, PhD, associate professor in anesthesiology and critical care medicine with the Armstrong Institute, in a release. "This will be an important step in improving patient care throughout their surgery process."

Improvement and research efforts at the 750 hospitals will initially focus on abdominal operations in colorectal surgery. In the future, the quality and safety improvement efforts will expand to areas like bariatric surgery, orthopedic surgery, gynecology and emergency general surgery.

"Too often, patients suffer complications and prolonged hospitalizations after surgery, although the steps to prevent these results are known," said Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD, director of the Armstrong Institute and senior vice president of patient safety and quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine. "This program brings these recommended practices together into one coordinated, unified program where everyone — clinicians, patients and their loved ones — understand what they must do for the best possible outcome."

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