This article was originally published here
BMJ Open Qual. 2022 Mar;11(1):e001216. doi: 10.1136/bmjoq-2020-001216.
Postoperative X-rays are a key part of management of orthopaedic patients. These X-rays serve to check stability of orthopaedic fixation as well as to ensure that there are no peri-implant fractures and periprosthetic fractures following surgical fixation of fractures and arthroplasty procedures, respectively. Timely accurate interpretation of postoperative X-rays are crucial in guiding weight-bearing status as well as rehabilitation. Therefore, delays in X-ray acquisition may impact initiation of postoperative rehabilitation and overall length of stay negatively. The aim of this project is to optimise acquisition of postoperative X-rays in patients undergoing implant surgery and as a result increase efficiency of deployed healthcare staff. A multidisciplinary team was formed to study the efficacy of a new workflow for patients to undergo X-rays immediately after surgery while en-route to the ward. Pretrial and in-trial delays in acquiring X-rays and total man-hours spent on transport were recorded. These processes were refined and integrated to optimise the new workflow. Compared with the old workflow, delays in obtaining X-rays were significantly reduced from the longest of 20 hours and 40 min to no delays at all. Overall man-hours spent on transport of these patients were reduced by a mean of 12 and 16 min for nurses and porters, respectively. The trial workflow has since been adopted successfully by our institution and since inception has become standard practice, allowing timely review of postoperative X-rays. This has led to increased workforce efficiency as well as timely rehabilitation and discharge of patients.