AHRQ Safety Program for Improving Surgical Care and Recovery

A collaborative program to enhance the recovery of surgical patients

This ongoing implementation project aims to help hospitals and clinicians use AHRQ’s Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) method to enhance the surgical process and improve patients' recovery after surgery.


About This Project

This project is designed to help hospitals implement evidence-based practices to improve outcomes and prevent complications among patients who undergo surgery. Enhanced recovery pathways include preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative practices that decrease complications and accelerate recovery. A number of studies and meta-analyses have demonstrated successful results from the use of these pathways. In order to facilitate broader adoption of these evidence-based practices among U.S. hospitals, this AHRQ project will use principles and methods from CUSP, which has been demonstrated to be an effective approach to reducing patient harms including healthcare associated infections, to enhance the recovery of surgical patients. The CUSP approach uses a combination of clinical and cultural (i.e., technical and adaptive) intervention components. The adaptive elements include promoting leadership and frontline staff engagement, improvement in safety culture, and close teamwork among surgeons, anesthesia providers, and nurses, as well as enhancing patient communication and engagement. Through this project, AHRQ will help approximately 750 hospitals implement surgical practices designed to reduce infections and other complications. These practices can also reduce the length of time patients stay in the hospital after surgery and help them recover safely at home without unplanned returns to the hospital.

Tools and resources used and lessons learned by the hospitals participating in this 5-year project will be compiled into a toolkit, allowing other hospitals to improve patient recovery.

Project Partners

This project is being conducted through a partnership that brings together subject matter experts and providers in the field. Partners for this project include—

  • Johns Hopkins Medicine Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality
  • American College of Surgeons
  • Westat

For health care professionals who wish to learn more about how to enroll your hospital in this project, visit the Improving Surgical Care and Recovery (ISCR) portal.

Page last reviewed June 2017
Page originally created March 2017
Internet Citation: AHRQ Safety Program for Improving Surgical Care and Recovery. Content last reviewed June 2017. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. https://www.ahrq.gov/hai/tools/enhanced-recovery/index.html
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