A novel approach to managing variation: Outpatient therapeutic monitoring of calcineurin inhibitor blood levels in liver transplant recipients

John C. Bucuvalas, Frederick C. Ryckman, Gajra Arya, Brandy Andrew, Anne Lesko, Conrad R. Cole, Brent James, Uma Kotagal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To apply the principles of statistical process control (SPC) to manage calcineurin inhibitor (CNI) blood levels. We hypothesized that the use of SPC would increase the proportion of CNI blood levels in the target range. Study design: The study population consisted of 217 patients more than 3 months after liver transplantation. After demonstration of proof of concept using the rapid cycle improvement process, SPC was applied to the entire population. The change package included definition of target ranges for CNI, implementation of a web-based tool that displayed CNI blood levels on a control chart, and implementation of a protocol and a checklist for management of CNI blood levels. The principal outcome measure was the proportion of CNI blood levels in the target range. Results: In the pilot study, the proportion of CNI blood levels in the target range increased from 50% to 85%. When the protocol was spread to the entire population, the proportion of drug levels in the target range increased to 77% from 50% (P <.001), whereas the range of CNI levels decreased. The rate of allograft rejection did not change. Conclusions: Utilization of SPC increased the proportion of CNI blood levels in target range. These observations may be applicable to the care of other chronic healthcare problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)744-750
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Volume146
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2005

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