Use your form during review to avoid reprints

Even when you make sure your proposed pathway undergoes extensive review, some errors don’t get caught until hundreds of printed pathways are delivered and put into the patients’ charts, says Becky S. Winter, RN, BSN, surgical services resource nurse and outcomes coordinator at North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, CO.

Draft copies of the perioperative pathway, developed by day surgery and fine-tuned for use throughout the hospital, were sent to the anesthesiologists for their review during the development process. The physicians liked the pathway because they didn’t have to recopy information from other forms, says Winter. A problem did occur, however, when the form was put into use.

A simple printing error throughout the form divided time into 20-minute segments rather than 15-minute segments. Although the printed form was reviewed and approved by the physicians, none tried to actually use it. Thus, the problem wasn’t discovered until after implementation. Winter suggests that anyone reviewing a form try to use it as part of the review.

Another format revision occurred when anesthesiologists tried to copy their portion of the trifold form so they would have the information in their own records. "A trifold form doesn’t photocopy easily, so we changed to a single page format and we made the anesthesiologist’s page a two-part self-copying form. Once they fill in their information, they simply pull their copy off the back," Winter explains.

After dedicating one page to the anesthesiologist’s record and adding the operating room record as part of the pathway form, the move from the trifold form to a single page format creates an 11-page pathway for the chart, but instead of being more cumbersome, it is easier to use, she says. Not only does it flow well, but it is less expensive to produce, Winter says. The trifold form required heavier paper and a larger press to produce it. The lower cost of producing 8½- by 11-inch single pages will save $16,000 per year, says Winter.

An added benefit is a decreased turnaround printing time when supplies run low: from two weeks for the trifold to two days for the single page.