Objectives. The aim of the study is to determine whether critical pathways can be implemented at an academic institution to limit cost, without compromising patient satisfaction and quality of care. Patients and methods. Patients undergoing a hysterectomy with either cervical or endometrial cancer were placed on specific critical pathways consecutively for an 18-month study period. Preoperative: teaching was intensified to educate the patient regarding expectations during the postoperative period. All patients were started on early feeding and patients were also placed on separate care pathways addressing pain and deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis. Total direct costs and patient satisfaction were obtained throughout the study period. During the year prior to care pathway implementation, patient data and direct costs were obtained for the preintervention group utilized for comparison. Postintervention groups were summarized every 6 months during the study period. Results. From January 1997 through June 1998, 63 patients with cervical carcinoma undergoing a radical hysterectomy (DRG 353) and 21 patients with endometrial cancer who underwent a hysterectomy and lymph node sampling (DRG 355) were utilized as the preintervention group. During the 18-month study period (July 1998-December 1999), 42 patients (DRG 353) and 25 patients (DRG 355) were accrued. The average length of stay was reduced from 5.2 (DRG 353) and 4.7 days (DRG 355) prior to implementation of pathways to 3.4 days in both groups. In addition, total direct costs were reduced by 29 (DRG 353) and 32% (DRG 355) after implementation of care pathways. Patient satisfaction data recorded during the study did not demonstrate any change throughout the study period nor were there any higher rates of readmission after implementation of the care pathways. Conclusions. Critical pathways in gynecologic oncology can be implemented in a managed care environment in order to maintain high quality of care, maintain outcomes, and help reduce COSTS.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology