The United States Navy uses a visual feedback system for pilots, named ‘the Greenie Board’, to improve flight manoeuvres on aircraft carriers. Given that increased compliance with enhanced recovery after surgery protocols reduces postoperative complications, we decided to apply a similar feedback system to our institutional enhanced recovery programme. We undertook a prospective 12-month audit of 194 patients assigned to our enhanced recovery programme and evaluated adherence to the anaesthesia-related components of our protocol, before and after implementing a Greenie Board. A compliance score was calculated by summing points for adherence to: intra-operative antibiotic prophylaxis; temperature management; goal-directed intravenous fluid therapy; postoperative nausea and vomiting prophylaxis; and postoperative fluid restriction. The score for each patient was then colour-coded and anonymously displayed for each anaesthetist on a Greenie Board within the operating theatre suite. Protocol adherence improved significantly following introduction, with ‘Green’ scores (acceptable compliance) increasing from 33% to 72% of patients (p < 0.0001). The greatest improvement was seen with anti-emetic prophylaxis (49% to 70%, p = 0.004) with a consequent reduction in postoperative nausea and vomiting (OR 0.42, 95% CI 0.19–0.88, p = 0.021). We did not observe a decrease in other postoperative complications nor hospital length of stay. We conclude that this US Navy-inspired feedback system is an easily implemented, low-cost quality improvement tool that significantly improved adherence to intra-operative components of our enhanced recovery protocol. The system lends itself to global scaling to drive quality improvement in healthcare delivery and would be suited to institutions without electronic medical records, including low-resource countries.
- hypothermia: prevention
- postoperative nausea and vomiting: prophylaxis
- quality measures: patient care