New Surgical-Based Rapid Response Team Among First in Country

Nurses quickly escorting a patient through the halls.

August 14, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Kan.— Surgeons and other caregivers at The University of Kansas Hospital have developed a unique team designed to move critical patients into surgery safely and more efficiently.

The Emergency Surgical Transport Assessment Team (ESTAT) is believed to be the first surgical-based rapid response team among U.S. hospitals.

Previously the hospital had a surgical process in place for trauma patients in the Emergency Department. Now with ESTAT, patients who were already in the hospital and require unexpected surgery can be evaluated by the rapid response team and moved into an operating room within 30 minutes of the team's activation.

Anesthesiologist Amy Pichoff, MD, who helped develop and coordinate ESTAT, said physicians and hospital staff responded to those situations in the past, but the new process designates members of the team, provides defined roles and ensures they are alerted quickly to allow the most timely, coordinated care possible.

"ESTAT makes the profess more efficient," Pichoff said. "It's important we capture essential information about the patient, have the right equipment and are prepared for what we're going to be doing in the operating room. It's critical for this to be a seamless experience."

The new process, which debuted on Aug. 3, includes anesthesiologists, surgeons, pharmacists, nurses and other surgical personnel. Once ESTAT has been activated, it is up to the surgeon or attending physician to determine if the patient needs emergent surgery.

Rapid response teams first began at The University of Kansas Hospital in 2005 to provide quick intervention for any emergent issues among patients, visitors and staff.

The hospital also has the following rapid response teams:

  • Stroke
  • Heart
  • Behavioral
  • Trauma
  • Burn
  • Pediatrics

"With the success of those rapid response teams, it made sense that we expand the concept to our surgical arena," said Cris Pritchard, RN, nurse manager of the hospital's Surgical Intensive Care Unit, which partnered with Anesthesiology physicians on the new project.

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