A Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program to Improve Perioperative Efficiency in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

J Pediatr Orthop. 2022 Mar 1;42(3):123-130. doi: 10.1097/BPO.0000000000001992.


Background: Addressing operational inefficiencies in operating rooms (ORs) enhances patient access to care, reduces delays, and improves employee and patient satisfaction. The Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) promotes patient safety through increased teamwork, empowerment of frontline staff, and utilization of science of safety principles. CUSP has demonstrated success in outpatient and inpatient settings to decrease complication rates and establish a culture of safety but has been used minimally in the perioperative setting. In this study, the CUSP methodology was utilized to improve perioperative efficiency in pediatric spine surgery, and preimplementation and postimplementation efficiency were compared, using the rate of first case on-time starts (FCOTS) as the primary metric.

Methods: A CUSP quality improvement workgroup including nurses, technicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and administrators sought feedback on opportunities for improvement and tracked key performance metrics in the OR from 2015 to 2020. Key interventions developed in response to feedback included standardizing and streamlining room setup and adjusting staffing models for greater efficiency. Univariate analysis was conducted to compare time periods pre-CUSP and post-CUSP implementation.

Results: First case on-time starts increased from 38% to a high of 81% after implementation. For more complex cases, the average patient in the room to anesthesia ready time improved by 31% with decreased variance over time, and average closure to patient out of room time improved by 45%. Improvements were sustained through Year 3, while CUSP remained a primary focus for the team.

Conclusions: CUSP is effective in enhancing perioperative efficiency, demonstrating strong improvement in on-time starts over 5 years. The results indicate that process improvement in ORs requires consistent attention to sustain gains over time. Engaging frontline staff in quality improvement fosters collaboration and provides employee buy-in to promoting a culture of safety and improving value in patient care.

Level of evidence: Level III-retrospective comparative study.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Operating Rooms
  • Patient Safety
  • Quality Improvement
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scoliosis* / surgery