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We conducted a program of research to derive and test the reliability of a clinical prediction rule to identify high-risk older adults using paramedics’ observations.
We developed the Paramedics assessing Elders at Risk of Independence Loss (PERIL) checklist of 43 yes or no questions, including the Identifying Seniors at Risk (ISAR) tool items. We trained 1,185 paramedics from three Ontario services to use this checklist, and assessed inter-observer reliability in a convenience sample. The primary outcome, return to the ED, hospitalization, or death within one month was assessed using provincial databases. We derived a prediction rule using multivariable logistic regression.
We enrolled 1,065 subjects, of which 764 (71.7%) had complete data. Inter-observer reliability was good or excellent for 40/43 questions. We derived a four-item rule: 1) “Problems in the home contributing to adverse outcomes?” (OR 1.43); 2) “Called 911 in the last 30 days?” (OR 1.72); 3) male (OR 1.38) and 4) lacks social support (OR 1.4). The PERIL rule performed better than a proxy measure of clinical judgment (AUC 0.62 vs. 0.56, p=0.02) and adherence was better for PERIL than for ISAR.
The four-item PERIL rule has good inter-observer reliability and adherence, and had advantages compared to a proxy measure of clinical judgment. The ISAR is an acceptable alternative, but adherence may be lower. If future research validates the PERIL rule, it could be used by emergency physicians and paramedic services to target preventative interventions for seniors identified as high-risk.
To identify the behavioral determinants—both barriers and enablers—that may impact physician hand hygiene compliance.
A qualitative study involving semistructured key informant interviews with staff physicians and residents.
An urban, 1,100-bed multisite tertiary care Canadian hospital.
A total of 42 staff physicians and residents in internal medicine and surgery.
Semistructured interviews were conducted using an interview guide that was based on the theoretical domains framework (TDF), a behavior change framework comprised of 14 theoretical domains that explain health-related behavior change. Interview transcripts were analyzed using thematic content analysis involving a systematic 3-step approach: coding, generation of specific beliefs, and identification of relevant TDF domains.
Similar determinants were reported by staff physicians and residents and between medicine and surgery. A total of 53 specific beliefs from 9 theoretical domains were identified as relevant to physician hand hygiene compliance. The 9 relevant domains were knowledge; skills; beliefs about capabilities; beliefs about consequences; goals; memory, attention, and decision processes; environmental context and resources; social professional role and identity; and social influences.
We identified several key determinants that physicians believe influence whether and when they practice hand hygiene at work. These beliefs identify potential individual, team, and organization targets for behavior change interventions to improve physician hand hygiene compliance.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2014;35(12):1511–1520
Timely reperfusion therapy for ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) is an important determinant of outcome, yet targets for time to treatment are frequently unmet in North America. Prehospital strategies can reduce time to reperfusion. We sought to determine the extent to which emergency medical services (EMS) use these strategies in Canada.
We carried out a cross-sectional survey in 2007 of ground EMS operators in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. We focused on the use of 4 prehospital strategies: 1) 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG), 2) routine expedited emergency department (ED) transfer of STEMI patients (from a referring ED to a percutaneous coronary intervention [PCI] centre), 3) prehospital bypass (ambulance bypass of local EDs to transport patients directly to PCI centres) and 4) prehospital fibrinolysis.
Ninety-seven ambulance operators were surveyed, representing 15 681 paramedics serving 97% of the combined provincial populations. Of the operators surveyed, 68% (95% confidence interval [CI] 59%–77%) had ambulances equipped with 12-lead ECGs, ranging from 40% in Quebec to 100% in Alberta and Nova Scotia. Overall, 47% (95% CI 46%-48%) of paramedics were trained in ECG acquisition and 40% (95% CI 39%–41%) were trained in ECG interpretation. Only 18% (95% CI 10%–25%) of operators had prehospital bypass protocols; 45% (95% CI 35%–55%) had protocols for expedited ED transfer. Prehospital fibrinolysis was available only in Alberta. All EMS operators in British Columbia, Alberta and Nova Scotia used at least 1 of the 4 prehospital strategies, and one-third of operators in Ontario and Quebec used 0 of 4. In major urban centres, at least 1 of the 3 prehospital strategies 12-lead ECG acquisition, bypass or expedited transfer was used, but there was considerable variation within and across provinces.
The implementation of widely recommended prehospital STEMI strategies varies substantially across the 5 provinces studied, and relatively simple existing technologies, such as prehospital ECGs, are underused in many regions. Substantial improvements in prehospital services and better integration with hospital-based care will be necessary in many regions of Canada if optimal times to reperfusion, and associated outcomes, are to be achieved.
Most studies of pre-hospital management of ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) have involved physicians accompanying the ambulance crew, or electrocardiogram (ECG) transmission to a physician at the base hospital. We sought to determine if Advanced Care Paramedics (ACPs) could accurately identify STEMI on the pre-hospital ECG and contribute to strategies that shorten time to reperfusion.
A STEMI tool was developed to: 1) measure the accuracy of the ACPs at diagnosing STEMI; and 2) determine the potential time saved if ACPs were to independently administer thrombolytic therapy. Using registry data, we subsequently estimated the time saved by initiating thrombolytic therapy in the field compared with in-hospital administration by a physician.
Between August 2003 and July 2004, a correct diagnosis of STEMI on the pre-hospital ECG was confirmed in 63 patients. The performance of the ACPs in identifying STEMI on the ECG resulted in a sensitivity of 95% (95% confidence interval [CI] 86%–99%), a specificity of 96% (95% CI 94%–98%), a positive predictive value (PPV) of 82% (95% CI 71%–90%), and a negative predictive value (NPV) of 99% (95% CI 97%–100%). ACP performance for appropriately using thrombolytic therapy resulted in a sensitivity of 92% (95% CI 78%–98%), a specificity of 97% (95% CI 94%–98%), a PPV of 73% (95% CI 59%–85%) and an NPV of 99% (95% CI 97%–100%). We estimated that the median time saved by ACP administration of thrombolytic therapy would have been 44 minutes.
ACPs can be trained to accurately interpret the pre-hospital ECG for the diagnosis of STEMI. These results are important for the design of regional integrated programs aimed at reducing delays to reperfusion.
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