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Introduction: Most emergency departments (ED) in Canada have a population of high frequency users that present to the ED on a regular basis. These patients are well described in the literature and typically defined by a frequency of 8-10 visits/year. In Thunder Bay, Ontario we have a significant population of patients that present more often that we have termed “super-users”. These patients often are typically from a vulnerable population with multiple co-morbidities and a high mortality rate. Although their risk for poor health outcomes is well recognized, both the chronicity and complexity of their symptoms often contributes to diagnostic dilemmas. The decision to order a computed tomography (CT) scan can be a difficult balance between ruling out life threatening diagnoses and exposing the patient to excessive radiation. Our objective was to describe how often these super-users of the ED received a CT scan and what types of imaging were completed. Methods: The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is a geographically isolated hospital in Northwestern Ontario with the next closest hospital based CT scanner greater than 300 km away. Based on previous literature and our preliminary scoping of the super-user group, we have identified a minimum of 25 visits as the threshold. A retrospective chart review was conducted for the year 2017 using our electronic medical record. Patient demographic data was collected along with the type and number of CT scans into a standardized collection tool. Results: Our preliminary results showed that our total population of super-users was 75 patients with an average of 32 visits to the ED per year. A total of 76% of the patients had a CT scan completed at least once. On average these patients have a CT during 10% of their visits with head CT comprising 50% of the imaging and abdominal/pelvis imaging comprising another 45%. For 20% of these super-users, they had CTs on 20% of their visits. From this population, only 10% of the patients had surgery in 2017 while 7% of visits required admission to hospital. The most common diagnoses for these patient visits relate to mental health/addictions, gastrointestinal complaints and infection. Conclusion: This study has shown that a significant number of our super-user population are receiving multiple CTs. Our next step is collect data on individual radiation doses and calculate exposure risks. We hope to inform policy and decision-makers who are developing programs to treat the underlying cause of their high resource use.
Introduction: All emergency departments (EDs) across Canada can identify a group of high frequency users, which are typically defined in the literature as eight to ten visits per year. Although frequent users of the ED are well-studied in the literature, there is little published in terms of identifying the “super-user” group who present to the ED much more often than 10 visits per year. Faced with multiple co-morbidities and a high mortality rate, the ED is often the most appropriate environment to manage this population. In order to inform future initiatives to improve health outcomes, we aimed to identify the specific characteristics of this super-user group. Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted using the electronic medical record from the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre to identify patients who had at least 25 visits in the year 2017. A total of 75 patients presented to the ED greater than 25 times in 2017. The following data was then collected on each individual patient: demographic characteristics including age, gender, address, access to a primary care provider. In addition, we collected date, time, diagnoses at each visit, admission rate and surgical interventions. Results: Our preliminary results reveal this population presents to the ED on average 32 times per year. The population is 53% male. Most have a private address and half have a primary care provider for all 2017 with one quarter having a primary care provider for part of the year. The percentage of visits for infections was 30%, mental health and addictions presentations comprised 28% of the visits, with gastrointestinal and cardiac visits comprising a total 22% of the visits. Approximately 7% of visits required admission to hospital, and the average length of stay was 5 days. Conclusion: Super-users of the ED are a unique population that are typically well connected with primary care and have a very low admission and surgical rate. The most common reasons for visit are infections and mental health and addictions. The next steps include collecting mortality data. This data should be used to inform ED and community initiatives aimed at improved health outcomes for this population.
Introduction: Acute aortic syndrome (AAS) is a rare clinical syndrome with a high mortality encompassing acute aortic dissection, intramural hematoma and penetrating atherosclerotic ulcer. Up to 38% of cases are misdiagnosed on first presentation. There is a large variation in use of computed tomography to rule out AAS. The Canadian clinical practice guideline for the diagnosis of AAS was developed in order to reduce the frequency of misdiagnoses. As part of the guideline, a clinical decision aid was developed to facilitate clinician decision-making based on practice recommendations. Our objective was to validate the sensitivity of this clinical decision aid. Methods: Our validation cohort was recruited from a retrospective review of all cases of AAS diagnosed at three tertiary care emergency departments and one cardiac referral center from 2002-2019. Inclusion criteria: >18 years old, non-traumatic, symptoms <14 days and AAS confirmed on computed tomography, transesophageal echocardiography, intraoperatively or postmortem. The clinical decision aid assigns an overall score of 0-7 based on high risk pain features, risk factors, physical examination and clinical suspicion. Sensitivity with 95% confidence intervals are reported. Based on a national survey, a miss rate of <1% was predefined for the validation threshold. Results: Data was collected from 2002-2019 yielding 222 cases of AAS (mean age of 65 (SD 14.1) and 66.7% male). Kappa for data abstraction was 0.9. Of the 222 cases of AAS (type A = 125, type B = 95, IMH = 2), 35 (15.7%) were missed on initial assessment. Patients were risk stratified into low (score = 0, 2 (0.9%)) moderate (score = 1, 42 (18.9%)) and high risk (score ≥2,178 (80.2%)) groups. A score ≥1 had a sensitivity of 99.1% (95% CI 96.8-99.9%) in the detection of AAS. The clinical decision aid missed 0.9% (95% CI 0.3-3%) of cases. Conclusion: The Canadian clinical practice guideline's AAS clinical decision aid is a highly sensitive tool that uses readily available clinical information. Although the miss rate was <1%, the 95% confidence intervals crossed the predefined threshold. Further validation is needed in a larger population to ensure the miss rate is below an acceptable level.
Introduction: Hemorrhage is the primary cause of death in 39% of trauma patients. In prehospital trauma management, there is debate over pursuing a ‘scoop-and-run’ approach versus early intravenous (IV) fluid therapy. We evaluated the literature regarding the effect of prehospital IV fluid therapy on mortality in adult trauma patients. Methods: A librarian-assisted search was conducted in PubMed, Medline and Embase. The population was adults with blunt and/or penetrating trauma. The intervention was total prehospital IV fluid volume 0-500 mL, and the control was prehospital fluid volume >500 mL. The outcome of interest was in-hospital mortality. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs), cohort and case-matched studies were included. Two reviewers used the Cochrane Risk of Bias (RoB) and Risk of Bias in Non-randomized Studies of Interventions (ROBINS-I) tools to evaluate biases, and kappa was calculated for inter-rater agreement. A summary relative risk (RR) of in-hospital mortality was calculated and heterogeneity (I2) analysis performed using RevMan 5 software. Results: Four RCT's and eleven observational studies were identified, with n = 15,448 patients. Two RCTs and four observational studies were excluded due to non-English language, and the location or volume of IV fluid administered, leaving eight studies with n = 4,568 patients. Inter-rater agreement was high with the ROBINS-I (unweighted κ=0.8841) and RoB tool (unweighted κ=0.8276). Two studies found decreased mortality, one found increased mortality, and five found no significant relationship to mortality with 0-500 mL prehospital IV fluid. The summary relative risk of mortality with 0-500 mL IV fluid compared to >500 mL IV fluid was not significant (RR = 0.98 [0.87, 1.11]). The heterogeneity for all studies was high (I2 = 84%), but was low (I2 = 0%) with removal of two studies. Conclusion: The majority of studies did not find a relationship between the volume of prehospital IV fluids and in-hospital mortality. Study heterogeneity was low except for two studies: this may be explained by mortality only being recorded at emergency department discharge in one study, and the high rate of penetrating gunshot and stabbing wounds in the other. There is a paucity of high-quality RCTs on the topic, and many studies are at significant risk of bias. Further research is needed to delineate the best approach to IV fluid therapy in adult trauma patients.
Innovation Concept: Dizziness is an increasingly common presenting complaint in the emergency department (ED), accounting for >2% of visits annually or almost 30% of visits in patients aged over 65. Approximately half of all cases of dizziness in older adults are caused by benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). The use of computerized tomography (CT) to rule out serious but rare underlying central nervous system (CNS) causes in patients with dizziness in the ED is increasing despite guidelines supporting the use of clinical exam maneuvers such as the Dix-Hallpike test and therapeutic canalith repositioning maneuvers. Evidence indicates that these clinical tools are underutilized due to clinician discomfort or lack of understanding in performing and interpreting the maneuvers, supporting brief and accessible clinical resources that incorporate video examples to address this. Methods: Through an iterative process the authors have developed a smartphone app that is designed to facilitate the clinical diagnosis of BPPV and provide treatment maneuvers where appropriate. The app is being tested by clinicians practicing emergency medicine or primary care in Northern Ontario. Curriculum, Tool, or Material: The BPPV Tool is designed as a step-wise guide to diagnose BPPV. Clinicians will be prompted to perform specific exam maneuvers based on clinical findings, and can follow short example videos or written directions. Potentially precipitated nystagmus is described along with example videos. Provocative tests include the Dix-Hallpike and Supine Roll. If appropriate, the clinician will be prompted to perform therapeutic repositioning maneuvers such as the Epley or Gufoni, with associated sample videos, descriptions, and billing information where available. If at any point a clinician's exam findings are not in keeping with a diagnosis of BPPV, they will be alerted to this and stop progressing through the app. Conclusion: The BPPV Tool is an accessible and easily disseminated smartphone app designed to improve clinician comfort in reliably diagnosing BPPV. Diagnosing this common condition clinically is supported in the literature and can reduce the number of unnecessary CT scans performed, which would reduce healthcare costs and ED length of stay for these visits, and could reduce the number of patient transfers from peripheral sites for imaging.
Participation in European surveillance for bloodstream infection (BSI) commenced in Ireland in 1999 with all laboratories (n = 39) participating by 2014. Observational hand hygiene auditing (OHHA) was implemented in 2011. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of OHHA on hand hygiene compliance, alcohol hand rub (AHR) procurement and the incidence of sensitive and resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecium and faecalis BSI. A prospective segmented regression analysis was performed to determine the temporal association between OHHA and outcomes. Observed hand hygiene improved from 74.7% (73.7–75.6) in 2011 to 90.8% (90.1–91.3) in 2016. AHR procurement increased from 20.1 l/1000 bed days used (BDU) in 2009 to 33.2 l/1000 BDU in 2016. A pre-intervention reduction of 2% per quarter in the ratio of methicillin sensitive Staphylococcus aureus BSI/BDU stabilized in the time period after the intervention (P < 0.01). The ratio of Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) BSI/BDU was decreasing by 5% per quarter pre-intervention, this slowed to 2% per quarter post intervention, (P < 0.01). There was no significant change in the ratio of vancomycin sensitive (P = 0.49) or vancomycin resistant (P = 0.90) Enterococcus sp. BSI/BDU post intervention. This study shows national OHHA increased observed hand hygiene compliance and AHR procurement, however there was no associated reduction in BSI.
In light of the opioid crisis, less attention has been focused on the long-term misuse of benzodiazepines (BZD) for anxiety and sleep disorders. The purpose of this study was to determine the sustainability of positive results (an 80% decrease in BZD prescribing) following a deprescribing intervention with primary care providers working with a low-income population at a Midwestern university-based community clinic.
All de-identified BZD prescriptions written by providers at the community clinic were captured using the electronic medical record. A BZD equivalency chart was used to compare the relative potencies of BZD commonly prescribed by the clinic. Each prescription was converted to a single number: the diazepam equivalent (DE). This number takes into account the potency of the drug (using diazepam as the standard), the dose of the drug, number of tablets dispensed and number of refills. The number of DE prescribed was tallied every 30 days for 6 months following the completion of a quality improvement BZD deprescribing intervention. The original intervention was implemented in 2018, with the goal of decreasing the prescription of BZD by clinic primary care providers to outpatients for insomnia or anxiety. The brief intervention combined academic detailing and pharmaceutical company detailing with a deprescribing message. Providers were given current evidence about alternatives to BZD, deprescribing schedules, and brain-storming opportunities about the management of patient concerns and resistance to change. Posters with alternatives to BZD were hung in the main provider office at the clinic. Food and “No Benzo” logo merchandise (mugs, pens) were provided to attendees of the intervention and clinic nurses. Thirty days after the intervention, the number of DE prescribed decreased by 80%.
Benzodiazepine prescribing (measured in DE) continued to decrease every 30 days for six months to 92-93% of pre-intervention numbers.
Follow up of a 2018 intervention revealed sustainability of the effect of a significant decrease in benzodiazepine (BZD) prescribing in a community clinic. A brief BZD deprescribing intervention using a combination of academic detailing and pharmaceutical company detailing designed to persuade prescribers to change their behavior was effective in influencing providers to decrease the amount of BZD they prescribe. The desired result (an 80% decrease in BZD prescribing) was achieved following the original 30-day intervention. Prescription numbers continued to decrease over the next six months (to 92-93% of pre-intervention numbers), which indicates that the deprescribing intervention may have had a sustainable positive effect on provider prescribing behavior. This intervention is easy to implement and may decrease BZD prescribing, which addresses the overuse/misuse of BZD, a significant public health concern in the United States.
The final chapter summarizes the results and main findings of the book and draws out the theoretical and policy implications. First, the cases in this work have shown that expansion depends on variation in weaker states as well as the more powerful. This means that international order is not just a product of the choices of the powerful but also of the weak. Second, state-building and increased nationalism can often result in the surrender of sovereignty. This finding is somewhat counterintuitive; normally state and nation-building is associated with the assertion of sovereignty. However, if attempts to centralize the state and assert national identities exacerbate domestic contestation, they can create conditions that result in reduced sovereignty. Third, resistance to hierarchy often results in less, not more, sovereignty, unless the dominant state is constrained from further expansion. Fourth, international orders in the form of hierarchy can depend heavily on domestic disorder, or at least highly dysfunctional domestic order.
In this chapter, I show that the combination of competition and rent-seeking can explain greater willingness to give up sovereignty in the modern world. The chapter uses two strategies. First, using data concerning sovereignty from the Varieties of Democracy data set, I demonstrate that the interaction between contestation and rent-seeking is associated with lower levels of autonomy in a global sample from 1946 to 2009. The chapter then explores why some of the post-Soviet states have been more prepared to integrate with Russia, giving up sovereignty. Regime types associated with higher levels of contestation over rents, such Personalist authoritarian regimes, are more likely to join Russian organizations or sign agreements of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Regimes that manage elite contestation more effectively, such as Party regimes, do not give up as much sovereignty. Similarly, nonauthoritarian regimes that manage rent-seeking more effectively also give up less sovereignty.
This chapter provides a historical point of comparison for the contemporary cases explored earlier. By testing my argument in a different historical context, I am able to provide an additional assessment of the external validity of my theory. In this chapter I show that the European powers, especially the British, were able to establish stable forms of hierarchy and informal empire in China and the Ottoman Empire. In contrast, in Egypt they faced resistance, and these forms of hierarchy broke down, resulting in formal empire. The chapter demonstrates that these different outcomes can be explained by the different levels of contestation and rent-seeking in these states.
Using two case studies, I explore how variation in the political institutions of Georgia and Ukraine across time influenced their changing relationship with Russia since independence. Why have some leaders of these states — sometimes even the same leader at different times — accepted differing levels of Russian authority and control? Changing levels of contestation and rent-seeking explain this variation. I also show that resistance to hierarchy contributed to violent conflict when the dominant state’s demands were rejected.