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ERAS research

Johns Hopkins gains funding to examine ERAS outcomes

ERAS strategies are employed throughout a patient’s entire care process, from the time a surgeon decides to operate to after a patient is discharged following a procedure

The Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, in collaboration with the American College of Surgeons, has been awarded a nearly US$4 million contract, with the option of US$12 million over three years, for a total of about US$16 million from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to improve the outcomes and experiences of surgery patients across the United States.

The project, funded and guided by AHRQ, will enable more than 750 hospitals to implement enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols, which have been shown to reduce complications, decrease lengths of stay and boost patient experience.

ERAS strategies are employed throughout a patient’s entire care process, from the time a surgeon decides to operate to after a patient is discharged following a procedure. Protocols include patient and family engagement, avoiding prolonged fasting periods, prescribing and using opioids sparingly, and incorporating multiple methods to control pain. ERAS brings a collaborative care approach, involving close teamwork among surgeons, anaesthesia providers and nurses.

“With the success of ERAS at our hospital, we are excited to share this approach with other hospitals,” said Dr Michael Rosen, associate professor with the Armstrong Institute. “This will be an important step in improving patient care throughout their surgery process.”

In the new project, called the AHRQ Safety Program for Enhanced Recovery After Surgery, improvement and research efforts will initially focus on abdominal operations in colorectal surgery. Future phases will expand to introduce protocols in other areas, such as bariatric surgery, orthopaedic surgery, gynaecology and emergency general surgery.

“Too often, patients suffer complications and prolonged hospitalizations after surgery, although the steps to prevent these results are known,” said Dr Peter Pronovost, director of the Armstrong Institute and senior vice president of patient safety and quality for Johns Hopkins Medicine. “This programme brings these recommended practices together into one coordinated, unified programme where everyone - clinicians, patients and their loved ones - understand what they must do for the best possible outcome.”

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