Perioperative Harm Index facilitates prioritization of improvement initiatives

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Pediatric Surgery








Outcome and process assessment; Pediatric surgery; Perioperative care; Quality improvement


© 2019 Elsevier Inc. Introduction: Perioperative services constitute a significant portion of the care delivery, the impact, and the potential risk in healthcare organizations. Tremendous attention has been paid towards hospital-acquired conditions; however perioperative services have not received similar attention. There is a need for a standardized manner to report on conditions in perioperative services which facilitates prioritization of quality improvement initiatives. Materials and methods: Preventable harm and quality of care indicators were selected based on a review of the literature and available datasets, as well as from safety and quality measures in our organization. Metrics were derived from myriad national quality improvement initiatives and collaboratives. A structure was created to obtain the metrics in a near real-time manner and present the Perioperative Harm Index across the organization. Specific initiatives were targeted as necessitating immediate, short-term, or longer duration prioritization for improvement initiatives. Results: A Perioperative Harm Index was created using 11 metrics that represent the spectrum of surgical care. The metrics facilitate prioritization of improvement initiatives and have resulted in improvement projects including perioperative normothermia in neonatal intensive care unit patients having procedures in the operating room, reduction of post-operative nausea and vomiting, and decrease in surgical site infections in selected procedures. Conclusions: A Perioperative Harm Index facilitates immediate shared understanding of the harm resulting from the care of surgical patients. As such, this index enables rapid and rationale prioritization for improvement activities. Our harm index is shared, is broadly generalizable, and has facilitated prioritization of improvement opportunities and appropriate allocation of improvement resources at our organization. Levels of Evidence: Level V.

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