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To determine how often the Ambulance Call Record (ACR) was available to emergency department (ED) physicians and whether it contained information that changed the ED management of patients.
This was a prospective cohort study of adult patients transported to one of two tertiary care centre EDs. Physicians completed a data collection form for each patient regarding ACR availability and the perceived value of the ACR. This study began shortly after the implementation of a new electronic ACR (eACR) handover process (Round 1). To control for any confounding factors related to this new eACR handover process, the study was repeated 6 months after its implementation (Round 2).
Total of 869 forms were collected: 545 in Round 1, and 324 in Round 2. The ACR was available at first physician assessment for 82 (15.7%) patients in Round 1, and 76 (24.4%) patients in Round 2 (Δ8.7%, 95% CI: 3.1%, 14.5%). The ACR was available at some point during patients’ ED stay for 154 (28.9%) patients in Round 1, compared to 111 (34.5%) patients in Round 2 (Δ5.6%, 95% CI: 0.0%, 12.1%). When the ACR was available for a patient (n=265), physicians believed that information in the ACR changed their treatment plan in 76 (28.8%) cases.
Physicians who review the ACR believe that the ACR contains relevant information that may influence patient management; however, physicians commonly manage patients without reviewing the ACR.
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