Pediatric Tracheostomy Outcomes After Development of a Multidisciplinary Airway Team: A Quality Improvement Initiative

Stephen R. Chorney, Ashley F. Brown, Rebecca L. Brooks, Candace Bailey, Cindy Whitney, Ashley Sewell, Romaine F. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives: To analyze a multidisciplinary tracheostomy team’s effect on length of stay and cost. Methods: An airway management program using a balanced scorecard was created to track key performance measures. Interventions included weekly rounding, standardized placement, postoperative care, and caregiver education. Process measures included time to first education, speech-language pathology consultation rates, and pretracheostomy consultations. Outcome measures focused on the total length of stay, 30-day revisit rates after discharge, accidental decannulation rate, and standardized cost. Regression analysis was used to predict the program’s effect on length of stay and total cost. Results: In total, 239 children met inclusion. The mean time to first education class was reduced from 13.7 to 1.9 days (P <.001). The speech-language pathology consultation rate increased from 68% to 95% (P <.001), and the presurgical consultation rate with the tracheostomy team increased from 14% to 93% (P <.001). The length of stay decreased from 133 to 96 days (P =.006). Total costs were lower for short admissions but higher for prolonged admissions. Revisits within 30 days remained stable over time (18%). Discussion: Establishing a multidisciplinary tracheostomy team results in improvements in quality metrics when caring for children with tracheostomies. Controlling for associated factors showed the mean length of stay decreased significantly in the first full year of program implementation. Cost analysis estimated significant reductions for tracheostomy patients spending less time in the hospital. Implications for Practice: A airway management program can positively affect tracheostomy processes and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOTO Open
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • multidisciplinary team
  • pediatric tracheostomy
  • quality improvement initiative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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