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Prioritizing Surgical Services during on-Going Pandemic Response: Modification and Reliability of the Medically Necessary Time Sensitive Surgery (MeNTS) Scoring Tool


Health systems are struggling to manage a fluctuating volume of critically ill patients with COVID-19 while continuing to provide basic surgical services and expand capacity to address operative cases delayed by the pandemic. As we move forward through the next phases of the pandemic, we will need a decision-making system that allows us to remain nimble as clinicians to meet our patient's needs while also working with a new framework of healthcare operations. Here, we present our quality improvement process for the adaptation and application of the Medically Necessary Time-Sensitive (MeNTS) toolto gynecologic surgical services beyond the initial COVID response and into recovery of surgical services; with analysis of the reliability of the modified-MeNTS tool in our multi-site safety net hospital network. This multicenter study evaluated the gynecology surgical case volume at three tertiary acute care safety net institutions within the LA County Department of Health Services: Harbor-UCLA (HUMC), Olive View Medical Center (OVMC), and Los Angeles County + University of Southern California (LAC+USC). We describe our modified-Delphi approach to adapt the MeNTS tool in a structured fashion and its application to gynecologic surgical services. Blinded reviewers engaged in a three-round iterative adaptation and final scoring utilizing the modified tool. The cohort consisted of 392 female consecutive gynecology patients across three Los Angeles County Hospitals awaiting scheduled procedures in the surgical queue.The majority of patients were Latina (74.7%) and premenopausal (67.1%). Over half (52.4%) of the patients had cardiovascular disease, while 13.0% had lung disease, and 13.8% had diabetes. The most common indications for surgery were abnormal uterine bleeding (33.2%), pelvic organ prolapse (19.6%) and presence of an adnexal mass (14.3%). Minimally invasive approaches via laparoscopy, robotic-assisted laparoscopy, or vaginal surgery was the predominant planned surgical route (54.8%). Modified-MeNTS scores assumed a normal distribution across all patients within our cohort (Median 33, Range 18-52). Overall, ICC across all three institutions demonstrated "good" interrater reliability (0.72). ICC within institutions at HUMC and OVMC were categorized as "good" interrater reliability, while LAC-USC interrater reliability was categorized as "excellent" (HUMC 0.73, OVMC 0.65, LAC+USC 0.77). The modified-MeNTS tool performed well across a range of patients and procedures with a normal distribution of scores and high reliability between raters. We propose that the modified-MeNTS framework be considered as it employs quantitative methods for decision-making rather than subjective assessments.

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