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Evaluation of the Clinical Pathway for Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

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Clinical pathways are comprehensive systematized patient care plans for specific procedures. The clinical pathway for laparoscopic cholecystectomy was implemented in our department in March 2002. The aim of this study is to evaluate the clinical pathway for this procedure 1 year after implementation. A study was conducted on all the patients included in the clinical pathway since its implementation. The assessment criteria include degree of compliance, indicators of clinical care effectiveness, financial impact, and survey-based indicators of satisfaction. The results are compared to a series of patients undergoing surgery the year prior to implementation of the clinical pathway. As our hospital has a system of cost management, we analyzed the mean cost per procedure before and after clinical pathway implementation. Evaluation was made of a series of 160 consecutive patients who underwent surgery during the period 1 year prior to development of the clinical pathway and met the accepted inclusion criteria. The mean length of hospital stay was 3.27 days, and the mean cost per procedure before pathway implementation was 2149 (±768) euros. One year after implementation of the pathway, 140 patients were included (i.e., an inclusion rate of 100%). The mean length of hospital stay of the patients included in the clinical pathway was 2.2 days. The degree of compliance with stays was 66.7 per cent. The most frequent reasons for noncompliance were staff-dependent, followed by patient-dependent causes (oral intolerance, pain, etc.). The mean cost in the series of patients included in the clinical pathway was 1845 (± 618) euros. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is an ideal procedure for commencing the systemization of clinical pathways. Results show that it has significantly reduced the length of hospital stay and mean cost per procedure with no increased morbidity and with a high degree of patient satisfaction.
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Keywords: Research Article

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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