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Make recommendations on approaches to building and strengthening relationships between academic departments or divisions of Emergency Medicine and rural and regional emergency departments.
A panel of leaders from both rural and urban/academic practice environments met over 8 months. Draft recommendations were developed from panel expertise as well as survey data and presented at the 2018 Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) Academic Symposium. Symposium feedback was incorporated into final recommendations.
Seven recommendations emerged and are summarized below:
1)CAEP should ensure engagement with other rural stakeholder organizations such as the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada.
2)Engagement efforts require adequate financial and manpower resources.
3)Training opportunities should be promoted.
4)The current operational interface between the academic department of Emergency Medicine and the emergency departments in the catchment area must be examined and gaps addressed as part of building and strengthening relationships.
5)Initial engagement efforts should be around projects with common value.
6)Academic Departments should partner with and support rural scholars.
7)Academic departments seeking to build or strengthen relationships should consider successful examples from elsewhere in the country as well as considering local culture and challenges.
These recommendations serve as guidance for building and strengthening mutually beneficial relationships between academic departments or divisions of Emergency Medicine and rural and regional emergency departments.
Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (QIPS) plays an important role in addressing shortcomings in optimal healthcare delivery. However, there is little published guidance available for emergency department (ED) teams with respect to developing their own QIPS programs. We sought to create recommendations for established and aspiring ED leaders to use as a pathway to better patient care through programmatic QIPS activities, starting internally and working towards interdepartmental collaboration.
An expert panel comprised of ten ED clinicians with QIPS and leadership expertise was established. A scoping review was conducted to identify published literature on establishing QIPS programs and frameworks in healthcare. Stakeholder consultations were conducted among Canadian healthcare leaders, and recommendations were drafted by the expert panel based on all the accumulated information. These were reviewed and refined at the 2018 CAEP Academic Symposium in Calgary using in-person and technologically-supported feedback.
Recommendations include: creating a sense of urgency for improvement; engaging relevant stakeholders and leaders; creating a formal local QIPS Committee; securing funding and resources; obtaining local data to guide the work; supporting QIPS training for team members; encouraging interprofessional, cross-departmental, and patient collaborations; using an established QIPS framework to guide the work; developing reward mechanisms and incentive structures; and considering to start small by focusing on a project rather than a program.
A list of 10 recommendations is presented as guiding principles for the establishment and sustainable deployment of QIPS activities in EDs throughout Canada and abroad. ED leaders are encouraged to implement our recommendations in an effort to improve patient care.
Emergency department (ED) and hospital overcrowding cause offload delays that remove emergency medical services (EMS) crews from service and compromise care delivery. Prolonged ED boarding and delays to inpatient care are associated with increased hospital length of stay (LOS) and patient mortality, but the effects of EMS offload delays have not been well studied.
We used administrative data to study all high-acuity Canadian Triage Acuity Scale 2–3 EMS arrivals to Calgary adult EDs from July 2013 to June 2016. Patients offloaded to a care space within 15 minutes were considered controls, whereas those delayed ≥ 60 minutes were considered “delayed.” Propensity matching was used to create comparable control and delayed cohorts. The primary outcome was 7-day mortality. Secondary outcomes included hospital LOS and 30-day mortality.
Of 162,002 high-acuity arrivals, 70,711 had offload delays <15 minutes and 41,032 had delays > 60 minutes. Delayed patients were more likely to be female, older, to have lower triage acuity, to live in dependent living situations, and to arrive on weekdays and day or evening hours. Delayed patients less often required admission and, when admitted, were more likely to go to the hospitalist service. Main outcomes were similar for propensity-matched control and delayed cohorts, although delayed patients experienced longer ED LOS and slightly lower 7-day mortality rates.
In this setting, high-acuity EMS arrivals exposed to offload delays did not have prolonged hospital LOS or higher mortality than comparable patients who received timely access.
Oral anticoagulation (OAC) reduces stroke risk in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) or atrial flutter (AFL). However, OAC initiation rates in patients discharged directly from the emergency department (ED) are low. We aimed to address this care gap by implementing a quality improvement intervention.
The study was performed in four Canadian urban EDs between 2015 and 2016. Patients were included if they had an electrocardiogram (ECG) documenting AF/AFL in the ED, were directly discharged from the ED, and were alive after 90 days. Baseline rates of OAC initiation were determined prior to the intervention. Between June and December 2016, we implemented our intervention in two EDs (ED-intervention), with the remaining sites acting as controls (ED-control). The intervention included a reminder statement prompting OAC initiation according to guideline recommendations, manually added to ECGs with a preliminary interpretation of AF/AFL, along with a decision-support algorithm that included a referral sheet. The primary outcome was the rate of OAC initiation within 90 days of the ED visit.
Prior to the intervention, 37.2% OAC-naïve patients with ECG-documented AF/AFL were initiated on OAC. Following implementation of the intervention, the rate of OAC initiation increased from 38.6% to 47.5% (absolute increase of 8.5%; 95% CI, 0.3% to 16.7%, p=0.04) among the ED-intervention sites, whereas the rate remained unchanged in ED-control sites (35.3% to 35.9%, p=0.9).
Implementation of a quality improvement intervention consisting of a reminder and decision-support tool increased initiation of OAC in high-risk patients. This support package can be readily implemented in other jurisdictions to improve OAC rates for AF/AFL.
Sex-specific diagnostic cut-offs may improve the test characteristics of high-sensitivity troponin assays for the diagnosis of myocardial infarction (MI). The objective of this study was to quantify test characteristics of sex-specific cut-offs of a single, high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) assay for 7-day MI in patients with chest pain.
This observational cohort study included consecutive emergency department (ED) patients with suspected cardiac chest pain from four Canadian EDs who had an hs-cTnT assay performed within 60 minutes of ED arrival. The primary outcome was MI at 7 days. We quantified test characteristics (sensitivity, negative predictive value [NPV], likelihood ratios and proportion of patients ruled out) for multiple combinations of sex-specific, rule-out cut-offs. We calculated the net reclassification index compared to universal rule-out cut-offs.
In 7,130 patients (3,931 men and 3,199 women), the 7-day MI incidence was 7.38% among men and 3.78% among women. Optimal sex-specific cut-offs (<8 ng/L for men and <7 ng/L for women) had a 98.5% sensitivity for MI and ruled out MI in 55.8% of patients. This would enable an absolute increase in the proportion of patients who were able to be ruled out with a single hs-cTnT of 13.2% to 22.2%, depending on the universal rule-out concentration used as a comparator.
Sex-specific hs-cTnT cut-offs for ruling out MI at ED arrival may improve classification performance, enabling more patients to be safely ruled out at ED arrival. However, differences between sex-specific and universal cut-off concentrations are within the variation of the assay, limiting the clinical utility of this approach. These findings should be confirmed in other data sets.
Does the addition of topical tranexamic acid to anterior nasal packing decrease bleeding in patients with epistaxis who are taking antiplatelet medications?
Zahed R, Jayazeri M, Naderi A, et al. Topical tranexamic acid compared with anterior nasal packing for treatment of epistaxis in patients taking antiplatelet drugs: randomized controlled trial. Acad Emerg Med 2018;25(3):261-6.
The primary outcome of this randomized controlled trial was the percentage of patients whose epistaxis had stopped at 10 minutes from the time of intervention. Secondary outcomes included the frequency of epistaxis recurrence at both 24 hours and 7 days, emergency department length of stay, and patient satisfaction.
D-dimer testing is an important component of the workup for pulmonary embolism (PE). However, age-related increases in D-dimer concentrations result in false positives in older adults, leading to potentially unnecessary imaging utilization. The objective of this study was to quantify the test characteristics of an age-adjusted D-dimer cut-off for ruling out PE in older patients investigated in actual clinical practice.
This observational study used administrative data from four emergency departments from July 2013 to January 2015. Eligible patients were ages 50 and older with symptoms of PE who underwent D-dimer testing. The primary outcome was 30-day diagnosis of PE, confirmed by imaging reports. Test characteristics of the D-dimer assay were calculated using the standard reference value (500 ng/ml), the local reference value (470 ng/ml), and an age-adjusted threshold (10 ng/ml × patient’s age).
This cohort includes 6,655 patients ages 50 and older undergoing D-dimer testing for a possible PE. Of these, 246 (3.7%) were diagnosed with PE. Age-adjusted D-dimer cut-offs were more specific than standard cut-offs (75.4% v. 63.8%) but less sensitive (90.3% v. 97.2%). The false-negative risk in this population was 0.49% using age-adjusted D-dimer cut-offs compared with 0.15% with traditional cut-offs.
Age-adjusted D-dimer cut-offs are substantially more specific than traditional cut-offs and may reduce CT utilization among older patients with suspected PE. We observed a loss of sensitivity, with an increased risk of false-negatives, using age-adjusted cut-offs. We encourage further evaluation of the safety and accuracy of age-adjusted D-dimer cut-offs in actual clinical practice.
Advances in emergency medicine research can be slow to make their way into clinical care, and implementing a new evidence-based intervention can be challenging in the emergency department. The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) Knowledge Translation Symposium working group set out to produce recommendations for best practice in the implementation of a new science in Canadian emergency departments.
A systematic review of implementation strategies to change health care provider behaviour in the emergency department was conducted simultaneously with a national survey of emergency physician experience. We summarized our findings into a list of draft recommendations that were presented at the national CAEP Conference 2017 and further refined based on feedback through social media strategies.
We produced 10 recommendations for implementing new evidence-based interventions in the emergency department, which cover identifying a practice gap, evaluating the evidence, planning the intervention strategy, monitoring, providing feedback during implementation, and desired qualities of future implementation research.
We present recommendations to guide future emergency department implementation initiatives. There is a need for robust and well-designed implementation research to guide future emergency department implementation initiatives.
Although procedural sedation for cardioversion is a common event in emergency departments (EDs), there is limited evidence surrounding medication choices. We sought to evaluate geographic and temporal variation in sedative choice at multiple Canadian sites, and to estimate the risk of adverse events due to sedative choice.
This is a secondary analysis of one health records review, the Recent Onset Atrial Fibrillation or Flutter-0 (RAFF-0 [n=420, 2008]) and one prospective cohort study, the Recent Onset Atrial Fibrillation or Flutter-1 (RAFF-1 [n=565, 2010 – 2012]) at eight and six Canadian EDs, respectively. Sedative choices within and among EDs were quantified, and the risk of adverse events was examined with adjusted and unadjusted comparisons of sedative regimes.
In RAFF-0 and RAFF-1, the combination of propofol and fentanyl was most popular (63.8% and 52.7%) followed by propofol alone (27.9% and 37.3%). There were substantially more adverse events in the RAFF-0 data set (13.5%) versus RAFF-1 (3.3%). In both data sets, the combination of propofol/fentanyl was not associated with increased adverse event risk compared to propofol alone.
There is marked variability in procedural sedation medication choice for a direct current cardioversion in Canadian EDs, with increased use of propofol alone as a sedation agent over time. The risk of adverse events from procedural sedation during cardioversion is low but not insignificant. We did not identify an increased risk of adverse events with the addition of fentanyl as an adjunctive analgesic to propofol.
To evaluate the relationship between Emergency Physician (EP) productivity and patient satisfaction with Emergency Department (ED) care.
This retrospective observational study linked administrative and patient experience databases to measure correlations between the patient experience and EP productivity. The study was performed across three Calgary EDs (from June 2010 to July 2013). Patients>16 years old with completed Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) ED Patient Experience Surveys were included. EP productivity was measured at the individual physician level and defined as the average number of patients seen per hour. The association between physician productivity and patient experience scores from six composite domains of the HQCA ED Patient Experience Survey were examined using Pearson correlation coefficients, linear regression modelling, and a path analysis.
We correlated 3,794 patient experience surveys with productivity data for 130 EPs. Very weak non-significant negative correlations existed between productivity and survey composites: “Staff Care and Communication” (r=-0.057, p=0.521), “Discharge Communication” (r=-0.144, p=0.102), and “Respect” (r=-0.027, p=0.760). Very weak, non-significant positive correlations existed between productivity and the composite domains: “Medication Communication” (r=0.003, p=0.974) and “Pain management” (r=0.020, p=0.824). A univariate general linear model yielded no statistically significant correlations between EP productivity and patient experience, and the path analysis failed to show a relationship between the variables.
We found no correlation between EP productivity and the patient experience.
The consequences of minor trauma involving a head injury (MT-HI) in independent older adults are largely unknown. This study assessed the impact of a head injury on the functional outcomes six months post-injury in older adults who sustained a minor trauma.
This multicenter prospective cohort study in eight sites included patients who were aged 65 years or older, previously independent, presenting to the emergency department (ED) for a minor trauma, and discharged within 48 hours. To assess the functional decline, we used a validated test: the Older Americans’ Resources and Services Scale. The cognitive function of study patients was also evaluated. Finally, we explored the influence of a concomitant injury on the functional decline in the MT-HI group.
All 926 eligible patients were included in the analyses: 344 MT-HI patients and 582 minor trauma without head injury. After six months, the functional decline was similar in both groups: 10.8% and 11.9%, respectively (RR=0.79 [95% CI: 0.55–1.14]). The proportion of patients with mild cognitive disabilities was also similar: 21.7% and 22.8%, respectively (RR=0.91 [95% CI: 0.71–1.18]). Furthermore, for the group of patients with a MT-HI, the functional outcome was not statistically different with or without the presence of a co-injury (RR=1.35 [95% CI: 0.71–2.59]).
This study did not demonstrate that the occurrence of a MT-HI is associated with a worse functional or cognitive prognosis than other minor injuries without a head injury in an elderly population, six months after injury.
Can conversion to sinus rhythm for a supraventricular tachycardia be enhanced by a postural modification to the Valsalva maneuver?
Appelboam A, Reuben A, Mann C, et al. Postural modification of the standard Valsalva manoeuvre for emergency treatment of supraventricular tachycardias (REVERT): a randomised controlled trial. Lancet 2015;386(10005):1747-53.1
To determine effectiveness of a postural modification of the Valsalva involving leg elevation and supine positioning.