Despite the development of geriatrics surgery process quality indicators (QIs), few studies have reported on these QIs in routine surgical practice. Even less is known about the links between these QIs and clinical outcomes, and patient characteristics. We aimed to measure geriatrics surgery process QIs, and investigate the association between process QIs and outcomes, and QIs and patient characteristics, in hospitalized older vascular surgery patients.
This was a prospective cohort study of 150 consecutive patients aged ≥ 65 years admitted to a tertiary vascular surgery unit. Occurrence of geriatrics surgery process QIs as part of routine vascular surgery care was measured. Associations between QIs and high-risk patient characteristics, and QIs and clinical outcomes were assessed using clustered heatmaps.
QI occurrence rate varied substantially from 2% to 93%. Some QIs, such as cognition and delirium screening, documented treatment preferences, and geriatrician consultation were infrequent and clustered with high-risk patient characteristcs. There were two major process-outcome clusters: (a) multidisciplinary consultations, communication and screening-based process QIs with multiple adverse outcomes, and (b) documentation and prescribing-related QIs with fewer adverse outcomes.
Clustering patterns of process QIs with clinical outcomes are complex, and there is a differential occurrence of QIs by patient characteristics. Prospective intervention studies that report on implemented QIs, outcomes and patient characteristics are needed to better understand the causal pathways between process QIs and outcomes, and to help prioritize targets for quality improvement in the care of older surgical patients.

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