Early data from this project suggest that the RABBIT program fulfilled the process improvement goals of decreasing costs of cardiac surgery and maintaining high quality. Decreased cost was achieved by decreasing time to extubation and decreasing length of stay in the ICU and the total length of stay in the hospital. The cost savings were achieved without compromising the quality of care, which was assessed by measuring rates of readmission to the ICU and to the hospital and by surveying patients about their level of satisfaction. The success of the RABBIT program can be attributed to several factors. First, members of the cardiac surgery quality improvement team worked well together to solve problems and overcome obstacles, particularly after the pilot program. Second, naming the program helped to motivate staff, physicians, and patients. Outcome data was shared with the staff quarterly, and successes were celebrated. Finally, the use of a facilitator early in the process to establish the process with the surgeons and the staff was invaluable. Opportunities for continued improvement include resolving operational difficulties related to availability of beds and staffing, continuing work with physicians in changing practice patterns, increasing efficiency in scheduling operating rooms, and adjusting the preoperative education provided to patients and their families about the length of stay to expect. Quarterly outcome analysis continues, with reports to the cardiac surgery quality improvement team. The team continues to explore creative solutions to the aforementioned issues, as the goal of having 25% of patients who undergo cardiac surgery be transferred to the CTU on the day of surgery has remained elusive.

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