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HealthLine is Saskatchewan's provincial 24-hour health information and support telephone line. A proportion of HealthLine's callers are referred to the emergency department (ED) for further assessment. The purpose of this study was to gain insight into the appropriateness of these referrals and assess whether they increased the burden on an already strained ED system.
A list of callers referred from HealthLine to Saskatoon EDs from January 1, 2014, to March 31, 2014 was obtained. This list was cross-referenced with Saskatoon Health Region registration data to determine which of those callers had been registered in one of the three Saskatoon EDs within 48 hours of the original call.
During the 90-day time period in question, 707/3,938 (17.9%) of callers were referred by HealthLine to the ED. Out of those referred, 601 were identifiable and 358 attended the ED. Hospital charts were pulled for full data extraction and analysis of the 276 who met inclusion criteria. Of those who presented to the ED and met inclusion criteria, 60% had investigations performed while 66% received some form of treatment. The overall admission rate for the patient population studied was 12.0% v. 16% for non-referred patients. Referred pediatric patients had fewer investigations and treatments with a lower admission rate compared with the adult patients.
The Saskatchewan HealthLine is doing an effective job at directing callers both to and away from EDs in Saskatoon and not overburdening our local EDs with unnecessary referrals.
Patients often bring their smartphones to the emergency department (ED) and want to record their procedures. There was no clear ED recording policy in the Saskatoon Health Region nor is there in the new Saskatchewan Health Authority. With limited literature on the subject, clinicians currently make the decision to allow/deny the request to record independently. The purpose of this study was to examine and compare patient and clinician perspectives concerning patients recording, in general, and recording their own procedures in the ED.
Surveys were developed for patients and clinicians with respect to history and opinions about recording/being recorded. ED physicians and nurses, and patients>17 years old who entered the ED with a laceration requiring stitches were recruited to participate; 110 patients and 156 staff responded.
There was a significant difference between the proportion of patients (61.7% [66/107]) and clinicians (28.1% [41/146]) who believed that patients should be allowed to video record their procedure. There was also a significant difference between clinicians and patients with regard to audio recording, but not “selfies” (pictures). However, with no current policy, 47.8% (66/138) of clinicians said that they would allow videos if asked, with caveats about staff and patient privacy, prior consent, and procedure/patient care.
Contrary to patients’ views, clinicians were not in favour of allowing audio or video recordings in the ED. Concerns around consent, staff and patient privacy, and legal issues warrant the development of a detailed policy if the decision is made in favour of recording.
Older adults make up a significant proportion of patients seeking care in the ED, with about 25% of these visits classified as “non-urgent.” This study explored older adults’ understandings, expectations of and self-reported reasons for seeking care and treatment provided in the ED.
This qualitative study involved semi-structured interviews with CTAS 4-5 patients conducted at randomly selected times and days during ED visits at three Saskatoon facilities in 2016. Thematic analysis was used to analyze interview data.
115 patients over age 65 years (mean age 79.1 years) were interviewed. While the majority had independently or with family made the decision to attend the ED, almost one-third of patients (31.6%) reported that they had been referred to the ED by general practitioners or specialists. Few respondents indicated the visit was the result of their general practitioner not being available. Most participants cited comprehensiveness and convenience of diagnostic and treatment services in a single location as the primary motivation for seeking treatment in the ED, which was especially important to those in poor health, without family supports, or with functional limitations, personal mobility and/or transportation challenges. Other common motivations were availability of after-hours care and perceived higher quality care compared to primary care.
Accessibility to comprehensive care, availability, quality of care and positive past experiences were key considerations for older adults seeking treatment of non-urgent concerns. Older adults will likely continue to use EDs for non-urgent medical care until trusted, “one-stop” settings that better addresses the needs of this population are more widely available.
Studies show that First Nations patients have worse health outcomes than non-First Nations patients, raising concerns that treatment within the healthcare system, including emergency care, is inequitable.
We performed a retrospective chart review of Status First Nations and non-First Nations patients presenting to two emergency departments in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with abdominal pain and a Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale score of 3. From 190 charts (95 Status First Nations and 95 non-First Nations), data extracted included time to doctor, time to analgesia, length of stay, specialist consult, bloodwork, imaging, physical exam and history, and disposition. Univariate comparisons and multiple regression modelling were performed to compare care outcomes between patient groups. Equivalence testing comparing time intervals was also undertaken.
No statistically significant differences in presentation characteristics were observed, although Status First Nations subjects showed a greater tendency towards weekend presentation and younger age. Care parameters were similar, although a marginally significant difference was observed in Status First Nations versus non-First Nations subjects for imaging (46% versus 60%, p=0.06), which resolved on adjustment for age and weekend presentation. Time to physician was found to be similar among First Nations patients on equivalence testing within a 15-minute margin.
In this study, First Nations patients presenting with abdominal pain did not receive delayed care. There were no detectable differences in the time-related care parameters/variables that were provided relative to non-First Nations patients. Meaningful and important qualitative factors need to be examined in the future.
Emergency department (ED) lengths of stay are measured from the time of patient registration or triage. The time that patients wait in line prior to registration and triage has not been well described. We sought to characterize pre-triage wait times and compare them to recommended physician response times, as per the Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS).
This observational study documented the time that consenting patients entered the ED and the time that they were formally registered and triaged. Participants’ CTAS scores were collected from the electronic record. Patients arriving to the ED by ambulance were excluded.
A total of 536 participants were timed over 13 separate intervals. Of these, 11 left without being triaged. Participants who scored either CTAS 1 or 2 (n=53) waited a median time of 3.1 (interquartile range [IQR]: 0.43, 11.1) minutes. Patients triaged as CTAS 3 (n=187) waited a median of 11.4 (IQR: 1.6, 24.9) minutes, CTAS 4 (n=139) a median of 16.6 (IQR: 6.0, 29.7) minutes, and CTAS 5 (n=146) a median of 17.5 (IQR: 6.8, 37.3) minutes. Of patients subsequently categorized as CTAS 1 or 2, 20.8% waited longer than the recommended time-to-physician of 15 minutes to be triaged.
All urban EDs closely follow patients’ wait times, often stratified according to triage category, which are assumed to be time-stamped upon a patient’s arrival in the ED. We note that pre-triage times exceed the CTAS recommended time-to-physician in a possibly significant proportion of patients. EDs should consider documenting times to treatment from the moment of patient arrival rather than registration.
A panel of emergency medicine (EM) leaders endeavoured to define the key elements of leadership and its models, as well as to formulate consensus recommendations to build and strengthen academic leadership in the Canadian EM community in the areas of mentorship, education, and resources.
The expert panel comprised EM leaders from across Canada and met regularly by teleconference over the course of 9 months. From the breadth of backgrounds and experience, as well as a literature review and the development of a leadership video series, broad themes for recommendations around the building and strengthening of EM leadership were presented at the CAEP 2015 Academic Symposium held in Edmonton, Alberta. Feedback from the attendees (about 80 emergency physicians interested in leadership) was sought. Subsequently, draft recommendations were developed by the panel through attendee feedback, further review of the leadership video series, and expert opinion. The recommendations were distributed to the CAEP Academic Section for further feedback and updated by consensus of the expert panel.
The methods informed the panel who framed recommendations around four themes: 1) leadership preparation and training, 2) self-reflection/emotional intelligence, 3) academic leadership skills, and 4) gender balance in academic EM leadership. The recommendations aimed to support and nurture the next generation of academic EM leaders in Canada and included leadership mentors, availability of formal educational courses/programs in leadership, self-directed education of aspiring leaders, creation of a Canadian subgroup with the AACEM/SAEM Chair Development Program, and gender balance in leadership roles.
These recommendations serve as a roadmap for all EM leaders (and aspiring leaders) to build on their success, inspire their colleagues, and foster the next generation of Canadian EM academic leaders.
To systematically evaluate the accuracy of text descriptions and labeling of radiologic images published in the Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine (CJEM). Error detection by radiologists and emergency physicians and the clinical significance and educational value of these errors were assessed. Errors were also correlated with radiologist involvement in publication and imaging modality.
Thirty-three issues of CJEM were examined from January 2003 to May 2008. Electronic copies of all radiologic images published were obtained with their caption and description from the text. Identifying information was removed to present images in an anonymous fashion. Images were presented to two radiologists who, working in consensus, critically appraised each image and accompanying text. Images were then presented to two emergency department physicians who, working in consensus, critically appraised each image and accompanying text. All images with errors detected by either radiology or emergency physicians were then discussed to determine if errors would have affected clinical management or educational value. The emergency physicians also identified “underlabeled” images where it was felt that further labeling would enhance their educational value.
Forty-five articles with 82 images were obtained. At least one error was observed in 18 (40%) articles and 20 (24%) images. Two errors were present in three images, resulting in 23 errors. Of the 23 errors, 17 were image description errors and 6 were labeling errors. Five errors were detected by both radiology and emergency physicians, whereas 15 were detected only by radiologists and 3 were detected only by emergency physicians. Of these errors, 12 (52%) were rated as potentially affecting both clinical management and educational value, 5 (22%) as only affecting educational value, and 6 (26%) as nonsignificant. Radiologists were involved in six articles, including 12 images that contained no errors. There was no official radiologist involvement in 39 articles, including 70 images, 18 (26%) of which contained errors. In addition, 26 images were identified by emergency physicians as potentially
benefiting from enhanced labeling to improve educational value.
Radiologic images published in the CJEM are generally of high quality; however, 23 errors were found
in 82 images, 18 (78%) of which were rated as potentially affecting clinical management, educational value, or both. Radiologist involvement in the publication process may be of assistance as no errors were seen in articles that included radiologists as authors.
The American Heart Association (AHA) revises the Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) course approximately every 5 years, citing the scientific literature for any changes to content and management recommendations. With ACLS 2005, the AHA also revised the methods used to teach course content. The AHA cited no evidence in making these changes. The ACLS 2005 course, distributed in early 2007, makes greater use of videos to teach students. This prospective study surveyed opinions of both students and instructors in an effort to determine the level of satisfaction with this method of teaching.
During 16 consecutive ACLS courses, all students and instructors were asked to complete a questionnaire. The students provided demographic information, but completed the survey anonymously. Four questions probed the participants' opinions about the effectiveness of videos in learning ACLS skills. Experienced participants were asked to compare the new teaching methods with previous courses. Opinions were compared among several subgroups based on sex, occupation and previous experience.
Of the 180 students who participated, 71% felt the videos were unequivocally useful for teaching ACLS skills. Fewer first-time students were unequivocally positive (59%) compared with those who had taken 2 or more previous courses (84%). A small proportion of students (13%) desired more hands-on practice time. Of the 16 instructors who participated, 31% felt that the videos were useful for teaching ACLS skills. No differences were found between doctors and nurses, or between men and women.
The use of standardized videos in ACLS courses was felt by the majority of students and a minority of instructors to be unequivocally useful. First-time students had more doubts about the effectiveness of videos.
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