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  • Quality Care: Surgical Quality

  • Rhode Island Hospital carefully monitors all patients pre- and post-surgery in our general, cardiac, burn, trauma, pediatric and orthopedics surgical areas. Working in concert and always with our patients' informed consent, we have an established, robust program that gathers patients' vital health information. This information is submitted to professional medical review committees for analysis in an effort to provide an important window into the quality of our surgical care, with the overall goal of measuring and improving Rhode Island Hospital surgical outcomes as well as surgical outcomes at all all Lifespan hospitals..

    National medical review committees, such as the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and others, review the data we submit to them and later make available to Rhode Island Hospital's medical and support staffs reports that include important recommendations.

    We learn, for example, how Rhode Island Hospital ranks among all other hospitals participating in the review programs. We also gain insight into national health trends. This important information sharing provides Rhode Island Hospital's medical staffs with insight and helps them to improve the quality of the surgery conducted at Rhode Island Hospital so that we continue to address vexing health problems.

    Identifying and Combating Diabetes

    One of our major focuses to improve surgical quality is diabetes care and screening. Diabetes is the inability to metabolize sugar properly, so it builds up in the blood. If it is not identified and treated, it can cause heart attacks, loss of arms and legs, blindness, kidney failure or stroke. Recent national studies have indicated that diabetes has been increasing in our population in alarming numbers.

    According to these studies, ten percent of patients on a medical service in hospitals in the United States have diabetes. Fifty percent of patients on a vascular surgery service have diabetes. This number and the increase of serious health problems associated with it can be prevented by a simple, regular blood test and ongoing patient/community education. When a patient reaches the surgical area, however, it must be addressed by frequent monitoring of patients' blood sugar levels or other aggressive interventions.

    Many surgical patients may not even be aware that they have diabetes. Because of this, Rhode Island Hospital screens patients extensively through frequent blood sugar monitoring and insulin drips, regulated every hour. Patients are kept informed every step of the way during this screening process, pre- and post-surgery. This effort has met with great success in other areas, described below, practiced throughout Rhode Island Hospital's surgical areas.

    Once patients are discharged from surgery, their discharge letters to their primary care physician (PCP) notifies the PCP of the results of their diabetes screening and if any interventions have been inaugurated. The patient is then monitored over a period of several months following surgery in order to prevent complications and treat the disease effectively.

    Other Quality Efforts

    Lifespan's monitors cardiac surgery patients in several areas, including use of beta blockade therapy, anti-platelet therapy, anti-lipid treatment, deep sterna wound infection, and other areas, and submits information to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons database. Lifespan's hospitals consistently rank in the 90th percentile and better in these areas.