Enhanced Recovery Protocols for Colorectal Surgery

Colorectal Toolkit

The toolkit below includes sample performance reports, action plans, worksheets, recommended readings and more.

Quality Initiative Summary 

View the initiative summary to learn why SCW started this initiative, what we are trying to change in practice, and how we will implement the changes. 

Events & Resources

Check here for upcoming events related to the colorectal initiative, resources that we think would be beneficial for our members, and more.

The Problem

  • Colorectal surgical procedures are commonly performed, resource intensive, and have postoperative complication rates as high as 26%.
  • Enhanced recovery protocols are proven to reduce postoperative length of stay (LOS) by up to 2-3 days, decrease complications such as SSI, UTI, and VTE, improve patient satisfaction, and decrease costs.
  • Enhanced recovery protocols span the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative periods and can be tailored to individual hospital needs. Specific elements include:
    • Preoperative patient teaching and setting expectations
    • Multimodal analgesia to decrease opioid use
    • Avoidance of NG tubes and drains
    • Early ambulation
    • SSI, UTI, and VTE prevention
  • Successful implementation of enhanced recovery protocols requires multidisciplinary teamwork, investment of time and resources, and changes to conventional surgical practice.

How can SCW help?

  • Provide benchmarked performance reports at hospital and surgeon levels using existing administrative data for LOS, readmission, and use of opioids for patients undergoing colorectal surgery.
  • Distribute resources to guide implementation, such as sample enhanced recovery protocols, patient education materials, clinical practice guidelines, and evidence reviews.
  • Provide a platform for both in-person and virtual collaborative learning .
  • Provide guidance on automated data abstraction from the EMR to guide quality improvement efforts.

Interested in Participating?

  • Click here to learn how you can join.
  • We welcome participation by surgeons, nurses quality improvement specialists, and others involved in the care of patients undergoing colorectal surgery.
  • Click on the toolkit below to view sample performance reports, recommended readings and more. 

Initiative Leaders

Elise Lawson, MD, MSHS, FACS

Elise Lawson, MD, MSHS, FACS

University of Wisconsin

Kathryn Lauer, MD

Kathryn Lauer, MD

Froedtert Hospital

Why Colorectal Surgery?



Colorectal surgical procedures are commonly performed in the majority of Wisconsin’s acute care hospitals and are associated with high complication rates and resource utilization. 

Evidence-based guidelines have impact

Enhanced recovery protocols are evidence-based, clinical pathways with proven efficacy for decreasing length of stay, complications, and costs. 

Ensure equal access to high-quality surgical care

Despite clear benefits, enhanced recovery protocols are challenging to implement because they span all aspects of perioperative care, require investment from a multidisciplinary team, and challenge conventional surgical practice.  

Working together to bring high-quality surgical care to the entire state of Wisconsin