To test whether the service was delivering on those goals, Dr. Tukey and colleagues studied thoracentesis, paracentesis, central line, and lumbar puncture procedures.4 The study, an 18-month comparison of the procedures performed by the dedicated procedure service versus those done by other providers, found no significant difference in what were already quite low complication rates.
Unexpectedly, the researchers didn’t see higher levels of resident engagement in procedures performed by the procedure team, but they did find improvement in “best practice safety process measures,” such as whether ultrasound use followed established recommendations.
“I think that whenever you’re looking at quality improvement initiatives, you have to have an understanding of what might be the potential benefits,”
Dr. Tukey says. Her study, at least, suggests that launching a procedure service primarily to reduce the number of severe complications may not be the most appropriate goal. On the other hand, she says, the data do support the “very realistic goals” of improving residency education and maintaining procedure quality.
A dedicated service may not be a cure-all, in other words. And it’s certainly not for everyone. But given enough resources and buy-in, experts say, it could at least help put a hospital’s ailing bedside procedure strategy on the road to recovery without overextending its providers.