A Quality Improvement Approach to Decrease the Utilization of Docusate in Hospitalized Patients

Link to article at PubMed

Qual Manag Health Care. 2023 Feb 20. doi: 10.1097/QMH.0000000000000406. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Docusate sodium is a commonly prescribed medication to relieve constipation, but several studies have demonstrated its ineffectiveness. Its continued use in the hospital setting adds unnecessary cost and risk to patients. At the Mayo Clinic Florida campus, docusate was ordered for 9.7% of patients admitted to the internal medicine resident (IMED) teaching services during the month of January 2020, and the average hospital length of stay (LOS) was 3.1 days.

METHODS: A multidisciplinary team of internal medicine resident physicians and pharmacists collaborated to address this quality gap through a quality improvement project. It sought to reduce the number of patients admitted to the IMED teaching services who had an order placed for docusate by 50% in less than 6 months without adversely impacting hospital LOS. Two separate interventions were devised using Six Sigma methodology and implemented to reduce the frequency of docusate orders, which involved educating internal medicine residents and hospital pharmacists, and creating an additional process-related barrier to docusate orders.

RESULTS: The percentage of docusate orders decreased from 9.7% to 2.4% (P = .004) with a grossly unchanged LOS of 3.1 days to 2.7 days (P = .12) after 5 weeks.

CONCLUSION: The implementation of a dual-pronged intervention successfully decreased the use of an ineffective medication in hospitalized patients without impacting the balancing measure, and serves as a model that can be adopted at other institutions with the hope of promoting evidence-based medical care.

PMID:36807543 | DOI:10.1097/QMH.0000000000000406

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