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A Quality Improvement Project to Improve the Utilization of an Intraoperative Rapid Response System.

INTRODUCTION: Rapid response teams (RRTs) improve morbidity by reducing the incidence of cardiac arrests. Although providers commonly activate RRTs on acute care wards, they are infrequently used perioperatively. At our institution, two intraoperative calls for help exist: staff assists (SAs) and code blues (CBs). The SA functions analogously to an RRT, and the CB indicates cardiopulmonary arrest. Given the success of RRTs, this project aimed to increase the use of the SA system. Our primary goal was to increase the ratio of SA to CB alerts by 50% within 6 months.

METHODS: A quality improvement team led this project at an academic pediatric hospital in Northern California. The team analyzed the current state and identified an achievable goal. After developing key drivers, they implemented monthly simulations to teach providers the signs of clinical deterioration and to practice activating the SA system. In addition to measuring the ratio of SA to CB alerts, the team surveyed the etiologies of SA and measured process satisfaction.

RESULTS: Before the introduction of this initiative, the ratio of SA to CB alerts were 1:13.3. These improvements efforts led to an increase of SA to CB alerts to 1.5:1 ( P = 0.0003). Twenty-three anesthesiologists provided etiologies for SA, reporting laryngospasm as the most common reason (30.4%). Nineteen nurses completed the SA survey and reported high satisfaction.

CONCLUSION: This project successfully increased the utilization of a rapid response protocol in a pediatric perioperative setting using improvement methodologies and a simulation-based educational program.

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