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1.  Operating room data management: improving efficiency and safety in a surgical block 
BMC Surgery  2013;13:7.
Background
European Healthcare Systems are facing a difficult period characterized by increasing costs and spending cuts due to economic problems. There is the urgent need for new tools which sustain Hospitals decision makers work. This project aimed to develop a data recording system of the surgical process of every patient within the operating theatre. The primary goal was to create a practical and easy data processing tool to give hospital managers, anesthesiologists and surgeons the information basis to increase operating theaters efficiency and patient safety.
Methods
The developed data analysis tool is embedded in an Oracle Business Intelligence Environment, which processes data to simple and understandable performance tachometers and tables. The underlying data analysis is based on scientific literature and the projects teams experience with tracked data. The system login is layered and different users have access to different data outputs depending on their professional needs. The system is divided in the tree profile types Manager, Anesthesiologist and Surgeon. Every profile includes subcategories where operators can access more detailed data analyses. The first data output screen shows general information and guides the user towards more detailed data analysis. The data recording system enabled the registration of 14.675 surgical operations performed from 2009 to 2011.
Results
Raw utilization increased from 44% in 2009 to 52% in 2011. The number of high complexity surgical procedures (≥120 minutes) has increased in certain units while decreased in others. The number of unscheduled procedures performed has been reduced (from 25% in 2009 to 14% in 2011) while maintaining the same percentage of surgical procedures. The number of overtime events decreased in 2010 (23%) and in 2011 (21%) compared to 2009 (28%) and the delays expressed in minutes are almost the same (mean 78 min). The direct link found between the complexity of surgical procedures, the number of unscheduled procedures and overtime show a positive impact of the project on OR management. Despite a consistency in the complexity of procedures (19% in 2009 and 21% in 2011), surgical groups have been successful in reducing the number of unscheduled procedures (from 25% in 2009 to 14% in 2011) and overtime (from 28% in 2009 to 21% in 2011).
Conclusions
The developed project gives healthcare managers, anesthesiologists and surgeons useful information to increase surgical theaters efficiency and patient safety. In difficult economic times is possible to develop something that is of some value to the patient and healthcare system too.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-13-7
PMCID: PMC3606357  PMID: 23496977
Operating room; Surgical path; Management; Indicators; Outcomes; Efficiency; Safety; Sustainability
2.  To whom do the results of the multicenter, randomized, controlled INSECT trial (ISRCTN 24023541) apply? - assessment of external validity 
BMC Surgery  2012;12:2.
A response to Seiler et al: Interrupted or continuous slowly absorbable sutures for closure of primary elective midline abdominal incisions: a multicenter randomized trial (INSECT: ISRCTN24023541). Ann Surg 2009, 249(4):576-582.
Background
Existing evidence suggests that the transfer of results of randomized controlled trials into clinical practice may be limited. Potential reasons can be attributed to aspects of external validity. The aim of this study is to investigate issues related to the external validity of the INSECT trial.
Methods
All participating surgical departments were categorized and the clinical and baseline characteristics of randomized patients were evaluated. In addition, demographic and clinical data of all screened and randomized patients at the Departments of Surgery in Heidelberg and Erlangen were analyzed.
Results
Twenty-five centers enrolled a total of 625 patients. These centers included eight primary, 11 secondary, and six tertiary care centers. The tertiary care centers enrolled the most patients (n = 237, 38%) followed by the primary care centers (n = 199, 32%) and the secondary care centers (n = 189 patients; 30%). The mean number and baseline data of randomized patients did not differ between the three types of care centers (p = 0.09). Overall, the treatment according to protocol was at least 92%. At the Department of Surgery, University of Heidelberg, 307 patients were screened and 60 out of 130 eligible patients were randomized. There were no differences in demographic and clinical baseline data between included and non-included patients. In Erlangen, 351 patients were screened and 57 out of 106 eligible patients randomized.
Conclusions
Results of the INSECT trial are applicable to a broad spectrum of patients treated at different hospital levels.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-12-2
PMCID: PMC3328288  PMID: 22316122

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