Context: Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocols have been shown to decrease length of stay and postoperative opioid usage in colorectal and bariatric surgeries performed at large academic centers. Hysterectomies are the second most common surgical procedure among women in the United States. Hysterectomies performed in an open fashion, or total abdominal hysterectomies (TAHs), account for a large portion of procedures performed by gynecologic oncologists secondary to current oncology guidelines and surgical complexity. Implementation of an ERAS protocol for gynecologic oncology TAHs is one way in which patient outcomes may be improved.
Objectives: An ERAS protocol for gynecologic oncology surgeries performed in a community hospital was instituted with the goal to optimize patient outcomes preoperatively. The primary outcome of interest was to reduce patient opioid usage. Secondary outcomes included compliance with the ERAS protocol, length of stay, and cost. Thirdly, this study aimed to demonstrate the unique challenges of implementing a large-scale protocol across a community network.
Methods: An ERAS protocol was implemented in 2018, with multidisciplinary input from the Departments of Gynecologic Oncology, Anesthesia, Pharmacy, Nursing, Information Technology, and Quality Improvement to develop a comprehensive ERAS order set. This was implemented across a 12-site hospital system network that consisted of both urban and rural hospital settings. A retrospective review of patient charts was performed to assess measured outcomes. Parametric and nonparametric tests were utilized for statistical analysis with p<0.05 denoting statistical significance. If the p value was >0.05 and <0.09, this was considered a trend toward significant.
Results: A total of 124 patients underwent a TAH utilizing the ERAS protocol during 2018 and 2019. The control arm consisted of 59 patients who underwent a TAH prior to the ERAS protocol intervention, which was the standard of care in 2017. After 2 years of implementation of the ERAS protocol intervention, we found that 48 % of the ERAS patients had minimal opioid requirements after surgery (oral morphine equivalent [OME] range 0–40) with decreased postoperative opioid requirements in the ERAS group (p=0.03). Although not statistically significant, utilization of the ERAS protocol for gynecologic oncology TAHs trended toward shorter hospital length of stay from 5.18 to 4.17 days (p=0.07). The median total hospital costs per patient also showed a nonsignificant decrease in cost from $13,342.00 in the non-ERAS cohort and $13,703.00 in the ERAS cohort (p=0.8).
Conclusions: A large-scale quality improvement (QI) initiative is feasible utilizing a multidisciplinary team to implement an ERAS protocol for TAHs in the division of Gynecologic Oncology with promising results. This large-scale QI result was comparable to studies that conducted quality-improvement ERAS initiatives at single academic institutions and should be considered within community networks.