Importance of Compliance Audits for a Pediatric Complicated Appendicitis Clinical Practice Guideline

Mehul V. Raval*, Alan B. Kwan, Curtis D. Travers, Kurt F. Heiss

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Clinical practice guidelines (CPG) have been shown to decrease practice variation, reduce resource use, and improve patient outcomes. The purpose of this study was to audit compliance of a pediatric complicated appendicitis CPG to identify areas for continued improvement. A comprehensive complicated appendicitis CPG was implemented in a children’s hospital system. Outcomes were compared for 48 months pre- (01/2012 to 12/2015) and 28 months post-implementation (01/2016 to 04/2018). A detailed compliance audit was nested within the post-implementation period in 60 consecutive patients from 11/2017 to 03/2018. Feedback was provided to care providers throughout the audit. Overall, 2370 children with complicated appendicitis were identified (1366 pre-CPG and 1004 post-CPG). The CPG resulted in decrease in mean length of stay from 5.3 days to 4.5 days (p = 0.751), postoperative returns to the system (13.0% to 10.1%, p = 0.030), and readmissions (5.3% to 4.3%, p = 0.237). Central line use decreased from 11.2% to 5.5% (p < 0.001) and antibiotic selection improved from 47.0% to 84.1% (p < 0.001). On audit, only 15% (9/60) had full CPG compliance and 49% (29/60) received recommended antibiotic durations. Compliance increased from 7% to 23% with audit-derived feedback. After stratifying by appendicitis severity, audits resulted in improved antibiotic duration compliance for patients with severe appendicitis (38.1% to 66.7%, p = 0.07) and postoperative ambulation for patients with lower grade disease (37.5% to 83.3%, p = 0.06). Audit cycles on a complicated appendicitis CPG and feedback to providers improved CPG compliance and more granular outcomes of interest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number257
JournalJournal of Medical Systems
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Appendicitis
  • Audits
  • Pediatric surgery
  • Quality improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Information Systems
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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