Hospital Guideline Cuts Time to Surgery for Small Bowel Obstruction

October 24, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Health System


The time from admission to operation for small bowel obstruction decreased from 0.9 to 0.4 days after a hospital developed an institution-wide guideline for triaging and managing the condition, reports a study in the October 2012 issue of Surgery. Most patients with small bowel obstruction, a common condition in hospitalized patients, do not need surgery, but no uniform approach to diagnosis and management of the conditions exists, according to the authors. The surgery department’s quality improvement committee began by reviewing practice patterns for patients admitted with small bowel obstruction in the previous fiscal year. In cooperation with representatives from medicine and emergency medicine, they developed a guideline for triage and management. The guideline, which is reprinted in the article, addresses evaluation, initial treatment, and admission (e.g., surgery versus medicine).

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