60% Reduction of reoperations and complications for elderly patients with hip fracture through the implementation of a six-item improvement programme

BMJ Open Qual. 2022 Jul;11(3):e001848. doi: 10.1136/bmjoq-2022-001848.


Introduction: Hip fractures are common, serious and costly fractures in the elderly population. Several guidelines seeking to ensure best practice have been introduced. Although our institution complied with national guidelines for early surgery of hip fractures, no assessment of other evidence-based measures existed. We wanted to assess, test, implement and measure the impact of a quality improvement (QI) programme consisting of key elements proven to be important in the treatment of hip fractures.

Methods: We formed a multidisciplinary QI team, consisting of several specialists in different fields. The QI team assessed multiple possible process measures for inclusion in the programme and selected six measurable interventions for implementation: early surgery, correct administration of prophylactic antibiotics, surgery using proven methods and expertise, a multidisciplinary patient pathway and secondary fracture prevention. The improvement process was monitored by a statistical process control chart (SPC). Complications, reoperations and mortality were compared before (n=293) and after (n=182) the intervention.

Results: The SPC analyses indicated increasing adherence with all interventions throughout the improvement programme, and sustainability 7 years later. The last four periods showed a stable adherence above 90%. We found 60% reduction in major complications after the implementation of the improvement programme, from 19.1% to 7.7% (HR: 0.38 (95% CI: 0.23 to 0.61, p=0.0007). The need for reoperations due to complications fell from 12.6% to 4.9% (HR: 0.37 (95% CI: 0.21 to 0.67, p=0.0054). We did not find a difference in post-operative mortality after the implementation of the QI programme (HR: 0.95 (95% CI: 0.74 to 1.2, p=0.645).

Conclusion: Our multiprofessional improvement programme achieved almost full adherence within 2 years and was sustainable 7 years later. The quality and safety of the care process were improved and led to a substantial and sustainable decrease in complications and reoperations.

Keywords: Hip Fractures; Quality improvement; Statistical process control.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Hip Fractures* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Quality Improvement
  • Reoperation