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MP23: A collaborative quality improvement initiative to improve the time to electrocardiogram in patients with chest pain presenting to the emergency department

  • H. C. Lindsay (a1), J. Gallaher (a1), C. Wright (a1), L. Korchinski (a1) and C. Kim Sing (a1)...

Abstract

Introduction: For patients with chest pain, the target time from first medical contact to obtaining an electrocardiogram (ECG) is 10 minutes, as reperfusion within 120 minutes can reduce the risk of death and adverse outcomes in patients with ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). In 2007, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) began tracking key indicators including time to first ECG. The Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) Emergency Department (ED) has been troubled with the longest door to ECG times in the region since 2014. In 2016, the VGH ED Quality Council developed a strategy to address this issue, with an aim of obtaining ECGs on 95% of patients presenting to the VGH ED with active chest pain within 10 minutes of presentation within a 6 month period. Methods: The VGH ED Quality Council brought together frontline clinicians, ECG technicians, and other stakeholders and completed a process map. We obtained baseline data regarding the median time to ECG in both patients with STEMI and all patients presenting with chest pain. Root cause analysis determined two main barriers: access to designated space to obtain ECGs, and the need for patients to be registered in the computer system before an ECG could be ordered. The team identified strategies to eliminate these barriers, identifying a dedicated space and undergoing multiple PDSA cycles to change the workflow to stream patients to this space before registration. Results: Our median times in patients with STEMI have gone from 33 minutes to 8 minutes as of June 2017. In all patients presenting with chest pain, we improved from a median of 36 to 17 minutes. As of April 2017 we are obtaining an ECG within 10 minutes in 27% of our patients, compared to 3% in 2016. Given the limitations in our data extraction process, we were not able to differentiate between patients with active chest pain versus those whose chest pain had resolved. Conclusion: By involving frontline staff, and having frontline champions providing real time support, we were able to make significant changes to the culture at triage. We cultivated sustainability by changing the workflow and physical space, and not relying on education only. While we have improved the times for our walk-in patients, we have not perfected the process when a patient moves immediately to a bed or presents via ambulance. Implementing small changes and incorporating feedback has allowed us to identify these new challenges early.

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