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Implementation of an Anterior Mediastinal Mass Pathway to Improve Time to Biopsy and Multidisciplinary Communication.

BACKGROUND: Mediastinal masses in children with cancer present unique challenges, including the risk of respiratory and hemodynamic compromise due to the complex anatomy of the mediastinum. Multidisciplinary communication is often a challenge in the management of these patients. After a series of patients with mediastinal masses were admitted to Riley Hospital for Children Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, the time from presentation to biopsy and pathology was greater than expected. We aimed to reduce the time to biopsy by 25% and demonstrate improved multidisciplinary communication within 6 months of protocol implementation for patients presenting to Riley Hospital for Children Emergency Department with an anterior mediastinal mass.

METHODS: Quality improvement methodology created a pathway that included early multidisciplinary communication. The pathway includes communication between the emergency department and multiple surgical and medical teams via a HIPPA-compliant texting platform. Based on patient stability, imaging findings, and sedation risks, the approach and timing of the biopsy were determined.

RESULTS: The pathway has been used 20 times to date. We successfully reduced the time to biopsy by 38%, from 25.1 hours to 15.4 hours. There was no statistically significant reduction in time to pathology. The multidisciplinary team reported improved communication from a baseline Likert score of 3.24 to 4.

CONCLUSIONS: By initiating early multidisciplinary communication, we reduced the time to biopsy and pathology results, improving care for our patients presenting with anterior mediastinal masses.

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