Customized kits empower surgical patients, improve outcomes
University Hospitals tap Medline to support ERAS® initiative
By Medline Newsroom Staff | March 30, 2022
An ERAS program provides a patient-centered approach to improving surgical outcomes. In early 2020, University Hospitals, which includes a large academic medical center and 18 hospitals in northeast Ohio, assembled a team of physicians to create and implement new ERAS guidelines aimed at empowering patients and optimizing care. The program was spearheaded by UH’s Chief Quality & Clinical Transformation Officer Peter J. Pronovost, MD, PhD, a renowned patient safety expert.
“Overall, our goals are quite patient centric,” said Heather McFarland, DO, a critical care anesthesia physician who is leading the UH ERAS Operations Team along with Soozan Abouhassan, MD, a critical care anesthesiologist, and Ronald Charles, MD, a colorectal surgeon. “We know that patients who follow ERAS clinical practice guidelines have shorter hospital stays, lower rates of readmission and fewer surgical site infections. A secondary outcome is a decrease in the cost of care per patient.
“The foundation of ERAS is a paradigm shift in what we do in health care,” said Dr. McFarland. “How can we break down the silos and take care of patients across the continuum in the best way possible?”
Prioritizing patient outcomes
Medline collaborated with the UH ERAS Team, along with the surgical leads for the 11 UH service lines with dedicated ERAS protocols, to create direct-to-patient kits customized for specific procedures and providing instructions and supplies to help with the full continuum of a patient’s surgical experience – from pre-surgery through recovery.
When a surgery is scheduled, a kit is ordered through the patient’s electronic medical record (EMR) and transmitted directly to Medline. Medline then assembles and ships the kits, drawing from the strength of the company’s vast product portfolio and supply chain network – more than 300,000 medical supplies and 50 distribution facilities located throughout North America.
“We ship these kits directly to the patient, eliminating multiple touchpoints where variation of pre-surgical care can sometimes occur,” said Kyle Scheerer, Medline executive director, IDN Networks.
Depending on the procedure or surgery, kits may include medication, prep or nutritional supplements, exercise and other instructions, a recovery diary, bathing kit, compression sleeve or pedometer.
“These kits come at a time when patients are nervous and provide them with customized care at their fingertips, letting them that know we truly care,” said Dr. McFarland. “We’re really optimizing outcomes for our patients. We want to get them back to their jobs, get them back to their families in the safest way possible.”
To date, kits have been created and are being distributed for colorectal, cardiac and spine surgeries at UH. Medline is working with the UH ERAS Team to finalize kits for another six service lines by the end of 2022. The remaining service line kits will be available in 2023.
Aiding clinicians in care
In addition to helping patients, the kits save time and provide peace of mind for clinicians and other staff.
The constraints of the clinic or physician office can often limit the amount of time spent on pre-surgical instruction and preparation, said Dr. McFarland. With the kits, the physician or other staff member can provide an overview of the upcoming procedure, which is then reinforced with the instructions and products that are delivered to the patient’s home.
“Clinicians have so much on their plate, and this type of program is one way we can simultaneously give them back time while helping them improve the quality of care for patients,” said Scheerer. “And for patients who are accustomed to home delivery in other areas of their life, these kits help to reduce stress and simplify the experience leading up to a procedure.
“The ERAS Kit Program is among the many ways that Medline proactively works with its customers to develop supply chain and practical solutions to make healthcare run better,” said Scheerer.
Dr. McFarland said the kits have been especially helpful during the pandemic.
“With COVID, people have lost so much control. This gives them back some of that. They are participating in getting themselves ready for surgery. It’s empowering.”