Background: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services define laparoscopic ventral hernia repair (LVHR) as outpatient procedure. We identified our institutional length of stay (LOS) to be above the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) benchmark of 1 day [interquartile range (IQR) 2 days]. This study was undertaken to investigate risk factors associated with prolonged hospital stay and design an intervention to decrease median LOS. Methods: This study analyzed institutional NSQIP data on patients who underwent elective LVHR from 2006 to 2011 to define factors associated with prolonged LOS, defined as LOS > 2 days. Modifiable factors identified in the initial analysis were included in a clinical care pathway to impact LOS. We repeated the NSQIP data analysis after implementation (4/2011–9/2012) to assess the effect of our intervention. Analysis was by univariate, ANOVA and logistic regression models. Results: During the pre-implementation period, 80 patients with a median age of 54 years (31–84) stayed a median of 2 days (IQR 3). On univariate analysis, factors associated with prolonged LOS included operative time, mesh size, amount of narcotics used and female gender. In multivariate analysis, operative time and narcotics used were associated with a prolonged LOS, C statistic = 0.88. Introduction of a clinical pathway focusing on non-narcotic pain relief resulted in a decrease in mean narcotic usage from 223 to 63 mg morphine equivalents/patient (p < 0.0001), decrease in median LOS to 1 day (IQR 2) (p = 0.027), in line with NSQIP benchmarks, a slight decrease in complications and a 10 % decrease in hospital cost. Conclusion: High narcotic use and long operative times are independent predictors of prolonged LOS in our patient population. Introduction of a standardized clinical care pathway designed to reduce perioperative narcotic use resulted in shorter LOS, improved quality and cost savings for patients undergoing LVHR.
- Quality control