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Improving On-Time Stent Removal with Digital Tracking and Reminders

UC San Diego School of Medicine tracks ureteral stent insertion and removal to reduce risk of complications

Stents removed after their expected explant date can cause significant complications, such as infection and urinary tract obstruction, and increase costs of care. About 11% of ureteral stents are retained past their expected explant date, with 76% of those stents at additional risk of complications if they’re retained for 12 weeks or more. To ensure on-time removal, researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine’s department of urology led by Dr. Seth Bechis piloted tracking in Epic that notifies clinicians when a stent is due for removal.

At UC San Diego Health, circulating nurses are reminded in Epic to document the expected explant date for ureteral stents along with their other implant documentation. A message warns clinicians when that explant date has passed, prompting them to contact the patient and schedule a follow-up appointment to remove the stent.

Out of 30 patients enrolled in UC San Diego’s case study, 29 had their stents removed on time. The remaining patient was scheduled for an appointment to remove the stent after being flagged for overdue stent removal.

UC San Diego’s approach improves stent care simply and without administrative burden for the surgeon or hospital, said Dr. Fady Ghali, one of the study’s authors.

“Clinicians have quickly taken to the new tracking system. It fits smoothly into their daily activities, without requiring them to learn a new workflow or complete lots of documentation,” Dr. Ghali said.

Read more at Urology Times.