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The aims of this study were to evaluate changes in inflammatory and oxidative stress levels following treatment with N-acetylcysteine (NAC) or mitochondrial-enhancing agents (CT), and to assess the how these changes may predict and/or moderate clinical outcomes primarily the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS).
This study involved secondary analysis of a placebo-controlled randomised trial (n = 163). Serum samples were collected at baseline and week 16 of the clinical trial to determine changes in Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) following adjunctive CT and/or NAC treatment, and to explore the predictability of the outcome or moderator effects of these markers.
In the NAC-treated group, no difference was observed in serum IL-6 and TAC levels after 16 weeks of treatment with NAC or CT. However, results from a moderator analysis showed that in the CT group, lower IL-6 levels at baseline was a significant moderator of MADRS χ2 (df) = 4.90, p = 0.027) and Clinical Global Impression-Improvement (CGI-I, χ2 (df) = 6.28 p = 0.012). In addition, IL-6 was a non-specific but significant predictor of functioning (based on the Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale (SOFAS)), indicating that individuals with higher IL-6 levels at baseline had a greater improvement on SOFAS regardless of their treatment (p = 0.023).
Participants with lower IL-6 levels at baseline had a better response to the adjunctive treatment with the mitochondrial-enhancing agents in terms of improvements in MADRS and CGI-I outcomes.
Despite strong evidence recommending supportive care as the mainstay of management for most infants with bronchiolitis, prior studies show that patients still receive low-value care (e.g., respiratory viral testing, salbutamol, chest radiography). Our objective was to decrease low-value care by delivering individual physician reports, in addition to group-facilitated feedback sessions to pediatric emergency physicians.
Our cohort included 3,883 patients ≤ 12 months old who presented to pediatric emergency departments in Calgary, Alberta, with a diagnosis of bronchiolitis from April 1, 2013, to April 30, 2018. Using administrative data, we captured baseline characteristics and therapeutic interventions. Consenting pediatric emergency physicians received two audit and feedback reports, which included their individual data and peer comparators. A multidisciplinary group-facilitated feedback session presented data and identified barriers and enablers of reducing low-value care. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients who received any low-value intervention and was analysed using statistical process control charts.
Seventy-eight percent of emergency physicians consented to receive their audit and feedback reports. Patient characteristics were similar in the baseline and intervention period. Following the baseline physician reports and the group feedback session, low-value care decreased from 42.6% to 27.1% (absolute difference: −15.5%; 95% CI: −19.8% to −11.2%) and 78.9% to 64.4% (absolute difference: −14.5%; 95% CI: −21.9% to −7.2%) in patients who were not admitted and admitted, respectively. Balancing measures, such as intensive care unit admission and emergency department revisit, were unchanged.
The combination of audit and feedback and a group-facilitated feedback session reduced low-value care for patients with bronchiolitis.
Innovation Concept: Emergency physicians (EP) rarely receive timely, iterative feedback on clinical performance that aids their reflective practice. The Calgary zone ED recently implemented a novel email-based alert system wherein an EP is notified when a patient whose ED care they were involved in is admitted to hospital within 72-hours of discharge from an index ED visit. Our study sought to evaluate the general acceptability of this form of audit and feedback and determine whether it encourages practice reflection. Methods: This mixed methods realist evaluation consisted of two sequential phases. An initial quantitative phase used data from our electronic health record and a survey to examine the general features and acceptability of 72-hour readmission alerts sent from May 2017-2018. A subsequent qualitative phase involved semi-structured interviews exploring the alert's role in greater depth. Quantitative data were summarized using descriptive statistics and qualitative data were analyzed using thematic and template analysis techniques. Results of both phases were used to guide construction of context-mechanism-outcome statements to refine our program theory. Curriculum, Tool, or Material: 4024 alerts were sent over a 1-year period, with each physician receiving approximately 17 alerts per year (Q1: 7, Q3: 25, IQR: 18). The top five CEDIS complaints on index presentations were abdominal pain, flank pain, shortness of breath, vomiting and/or nausea, and chest pain (cardiac features). The majority of re-admissions (78.6%) occurred within 48 hours after discharge. Immediate alert survey feedback provided by EP's noted that 52.65% (N = 471) of alerts were helpful. Thematic analysis of 17 semi-structured interviews suggests that the alert was generally acceptable to physicians, However, certain EPs were concerned that the alert impacted hire/fire decisions even when leadership didn't endorse this sentiment. Physicians who didn't believe alerts were involved in hire/fire decisions, described greater engagement in the reflective process. Conversely, physicians, who believed alerts were involved in hire/fire decisions, were more likely to defensively change their practice. Conclusion: Most EPs noted that timely notification of 72-hour readmissions made them more mindful of documenting discharge instructions. Our implementation of a 72- hour readmission alert was an acceptable format for audit and feedback and appeared to facilitate physician reflection under certain conditions.
Innovation Concept: The Calgary Audit and Feedback Framework (CAFF) is an innovative tool developed by the Physician Learning Program (PLP). By addressing four key factors –relationships, question choice, data visualization, and facilitation – CAFF addresses common barriers to physicians receiving their practice data. The goal of this study is to assess whether CAFF-facilitated physician performance improvement (PPI) sessions: 1) improve physicians’ receptiveness to their practice data, and 2) encourage physicians to both identify opportunities for practice change and create action plans. Methods: Peer facilitators were trained to facilitate PPI sessions using the CAFF model. In Calgary, 51/180 emergency physicians have attended at least one of the six PPI sessions. The sessions were evaluated using surveys, commitment to change forms, and the Feedback Orientation Scale (FOS). The FOS is a scale developed to measure a participant's orientation to performance feedback across the four domains of utility, accountability, social awareness, and feedback self-efficacy. Curriculum, Tool, or Material: The PLP has developed and implemented CAFF as a framework to help foster socially constructed learning in audit and group feedback sessions. The CAFF model ensures that the aforementioned four key factors are considered for design and implementation of audit and group feedback. The PLP found that establishing the meaning and credibility of the data is a necessary precursor to reflection and action planning. Conclusion: The FOS was completed for 25/32 physicians. The mean FOS score improved by 0.339 (p < 0.001; z=−3.863). While the mean scores all four domains increased, ‘Feedback Self-Efficacy’ increased the most by .0620 (p < 0.001; z=−3.999). Participants reported that examples of changes made by the peer facilitators were particularly helpful. Evaluations from the sessions suggested physicians overwhelmingly agreed or strongly agreed that the peer comparison was valuable, that the reports helped them reflect on their practice, and that the session helped them identify learning opportunities and strategies to change their practice.
Introduction: Physician metrics extracted from an electronic medical records (EMR) system can be utilized for practice improvement. One key metric analyzed at many emergency departments (EDs) is ‘patients per hour’ (pts/hr), a proxy for physician productivity. It is often believed that early-career physicians experience rapid growth in efficiency as they acclimatize to a hospital system and develop clinical confidence. This is the first study to evaluate the following question: Do early-career ED physicians increase their productivity when beginning practice? Methods: We performed a retrospective review of EMR data of early-career ED physicians working at one or more urban, academic centers. Early-career physicians must have started practice within three months of residency completion, and were identified by privileging records and provincial medical college registration. Physicians were excluded if they did not have at least 36 months of continuous data. Monthly productivity data (pts/hr) was extracted for each physician for their first 36-months of practice. A ‘performance curve’ or graph with a trendline of productivity as a moving average was created for each physician. Each performance curve was visually evaluated by two independent reviewers to qualitatively identify the general trend as upward, downward, or stable, with disagreements resolved by conference. Each physician's first and third year average productivity was compared quantitatively as well, with a significant upward or downward trend defined as a difference of at least 0.2 pts/hr. Results: A total of 41 physicians met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Overall monthly pts/hr averages ranged from 1.08 to 7.65. Upon visual inspection, six (14.6%) physicians had upward trends, five (12.2%) had downward trends, and 30 (73.2%) had no discernable pattern. The quantitative analysis comparing first year to third year productivity matched the qualitative inspection exactly, with the same six physicians showing increased productivity, five with decreased, and 30 without significant change. Notably, the majority (30/41) of physicians demonstrated radical productivity variations over short periods with no discernable long-term trends. Conclusion: The majority of early career physicians do not demonstrate sustained early-career productivity changes. Of those that do, an approximately equal number will become faster and slower.
Background: Emergency Department overcrowding remains a significant problem. Interventions have often focused on areas external to the ED, with patient flow in the ED receiving less attention. Efforts to address ED flow are complicated by daily fluctuations in patient volume and acuity. Our local protocol brings in additional physicians when internal metrics indicate patient demand can't be met by current physician resources (a ‘surge’ period). However, anecdotal evidence suggests a lack of satisfaction and efficacy. We therefore undertook a project to improve our local management of these surge periods. Aim Statement: To improve the effectiveness of an ED Physician Surge Protocol to allow for a physician scheduling strategy that is reflective of the needs of the ED. Measures & Design: This project consists of 3 phases. Phase 1 was an analysis of current surge metrics (including frequency, temporal patterns and physician response), with concurrent literature search to identify any best practices or easily addressable protocol changes, with first planned PDSA cycle. Phase 2 is a mixed methods survey of local staff to identify barriers and enablers of our current protocol, concurrent with a national survey of current practices. Phase 3 will be the implementation of a revised protocol, followed by a second mixed methods survey and analysis of metrics of interest. Evaluation/Results: Analysis of surge data (Oct 2018-Oct 2019) demonstrated a high volume of surges per month (78.7 +/- 10.9), highest at Foothills Medical Centre (94.3). Across all sites, afternoon periods had highest frequency of surges (absolute peak 1400 - 1500) with a secondary peak 2200–2300, both peaks occurring most frequently on weekends (Fri-Sun) However, physician response to surge calls was < 10% (5.8-9.1%), with no discernable temporal pattern, even accounting for the significant number of automatic surge calls cancelled by clinicians. Analysis of data, in addition to literature review and engagement with senior administration suggested no immediate protocol changes, therefore project moved to 2nd phase. This phase is currently in progress, with planned analysis using Pareto Chart methodology. Discussion/Impact: Our initial data clearly demonstrates that current procedures are inadequate to address this ongoing issue, with no readily apparent solutions. Analysis of local barriers and enablers is currently underway, in addition to a national survey, with the results expected to inform an extensive redesign of current procedures.
Background: Traditionally, radiologists have routinely recommended oral contrast agents (such as Telebrix®) for patients undergoing a computed tomography of the abdomen/pelvis (CTAP), but recent evidence has shown limited diagnostic benefits for most emergency department (ED) patients. Additionally, the use of oral contrast has numerous drawbacks, including patient nausea/vomiting, risk of aspiration and delays to CTAP completion and increased ED length of stay (LOS). Aim Statement: The aim was to safely reduce the number of ED patients receiving oral contrast prior to undergoing CTAP and thereby reduce ED length of stay. Measures & Design: An evidence-based ED protocol was developed in collaboration with radiology. PDSA cycle #1 was implementation at a pilot site to identify potential barriers. Challenges identified included the need to change the electronic order sets to reflect the new protocol, improved communication with frontline providers and addition of an online BMI calculator. PDSA cycle #2 was widespread implementation across all 4 ED's in the Calgary zone. The protocol was incorporated into all relevant electronic ED order sets to act as a physician prompt. Using administrative data, we extracted and analyzed data using descriptive and inferential statistics for the outcomes and balancing measures from a period of 12 months pre- and 12 months post-intervention. Evaluation/Results: A total of 14,868 and 17,995 CTAP exams were included in the pre and post periods, respectively. There was a reduction in usage of oral contrast from 71% to 30% (P < 0.0001) in the pre- and post-study period, respectively. This corresponded to a reduction in average time of CT requisition to CT report completed from 3.30 hours to 2.31 hours (-0.99 hrs, P = 0.001) and a reduction in average ED LOS from 11.01 hours to 9.92 hours (-1.08 hrs, P < 0.0001). The protocol resulted in a reduction of 19,434.6 patient hrs in the ED. Run charts demonstrate change was sustained over time. Our protocol did not demonstrate an increase in rates of repeat CTAP (P = 0.563) at 30 days, nor an increase in patient re-admission within 7 days (P = 0.295). Discussion/Impact: Successful implementation of an ED and radiology developed protocol significantly reduced the use of oral contrast in patients requiring enhanced CTAP as part of their diagnostic work up and, thereby, reduced overall ED LOS without increasing the need for repeat examinations within 30 days or re-admission within 7 days.
Background: Ketorolac has long been used to manage pain in the Emergency Department and has the advantage of being the only parenteral NSAID formulation. Despite multiple studies demonstrating an analgesic ceiling dose of 10mg for intravenous ketorolac, higher doses (30-60mg) are commonly ordered. Use of optimal doses of ketorolac (10mg) has the advantage of lower side effects and cost. Aim Statement: The aim of this project was to increase the usage of the optimal dose parenteral ketorolac (10mg) without increasing the use of additional, concomitant or rescue opioids (balancing measures). Measures & Design: This pre-/post-intervention comparison study (May 1, 2016 to April 30, 2018) included all patients ≥18 years of age that received parenteral ketorolac at one of 4 EDs in the Calgary zone. All data was captured via administrative data records. Stakeholders (ED leadership, analgesia committee, nursing and pharmacy) provided feedback and support for the project. Our multi-modal intervention included modifying all ED computerized order sets such that the default parenteral ketorolac dose was 10mg (post-intervention) from 30mg (pre-intervention), education (dissemination of evidence to support the changes to clinicians) and our pharmacy securing 10mg vials of ketorolac. At their discretion, physicians’ were still able to order other doses of ketorolac. Evaluation/Results: During the 2 year study period, 19290 patient records were identified where parenteral ketorolac was administered during the ED visit. Baseline characteristics were similar between the pre/post periods. Prior to the change in default dosing, 10.5% of orders were for ketorolac 10mg compared to 87% in the post-intervention period (p < 0.000). Statistical process charts support the above results and demonstrate that the changes have been sustained. There were no differences in patients receiving ketorolac as the only analgesic between the pre/post periods (42% vs 42%, p = 0.396), nor where there significant changes in concomitant opioid usage (46% vs 46%, p = 0.817), or rescue analgesia (11% vs 12%, p = 0.097). Discussion/Impact: In this large cohort, our multi-modal intervention, resulted in a significant increase in optimal ketorolac parenteral dosing without a significant change in additional opioid use. The results support the utility of computerized order set changes as the cornerstone of an effective and rapid knowledge translation strategy to align physician practice with best evidence.
Background: Despite strong evidence recommending supportive care as the mainstay of management for most infants with bronchiolitis, prior studies suggest that many of these patients receive low-value interventions. Providing clinicians with their practice reports and peer comparator data or an achievable benchmark of care (audit and feedback) has been shown to be an effective strategy to improve adherence to guidelines. Aim Statement: To decrease low-value care (use of any or all of chest radiographs, viral testing and salbutamol) in infants with bronchiolitis by delivering individual physician reports in addition to Group Facilitated Feedback Sessions (GFFS) to pediatric emergency physicians (PEPs). Measures & Design: Our cohort included 3,883 patients ≤12 months old that presented to two emergency departments with a diagnosis of bronchiolitis from April 1, 2013 to April 30, 2018. Using administrative data we captured baseline characteristics and interventions. Consenting PEPs received two audit and feedback (A&F) reports which included their individual and peer comparator data. Two multi-disciplinary GFFS (including inpatient pediatricians, nurse, learners and respiratory therapists) presented data and identified barriers and enablers of reducing low-value care. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients who received any low-value intervention, and was analyzed using statistical process control charts. Process measures (consent to obtain report, attendance and evaluations from the feedback session) and balancing measures were also captured. Evaluation/Results: 78% of PEPs consented to receive their A&F reports. Patient baseline characteristics were similar in the baseline (n = 3109) and intervention period (n = 774). Following the baseline physician reports and the GFFS, low-value care decreased from 42.6% to 27.1% (absolute difference: -15.5%; 95% confidence interval (CI): -19.8% to -11.2%) and 78.9% to 64.4% (absolute difference: -14.5%; 95% CI: -21.9% to -7.2%) in patients who were not admitted and admitted, respectively. Balancing measures such as ICU admission (absolute difference: -0.6%; 95%CI: -5.7% to 4.4%) and ED revisit within 72 hours (absolute difference: -0.1%; 95% CI: -3.1% to 3.0% non-admitted patients, 1.0%; 95% CI: -1.2% to 3.2% admitted patients) were unchanged. Discussion/Impact: The combination of audit and feedback and a GFFS significantly reduced low-value care for pediatric patients with bronchiolitis by PEP's.
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.
Background: Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disease. In June 2017, Health Canada approved Nusinersen, currently the only available drug for SMA. Since 2016, patients in Ontario have been treated clinically with Nusinersen through different access programs. Methods: Retrospective case series of patients with SMA treated clinically with Nusinersen in Ontario, describing clinical characteristics and logistics of intrathecal Nusinersen administration. Results: Twenty patients have been treated across four centres. To date, we have reviewed 8 cases at one centre (seven SMA Type I, one SMA Type II). Age at first dose ranged from 3-156 months and disease duration 9-166 months. Patients had received 4-7 doses at last evaluation. Three patients with scoliosis (2 with spinal rods) required fluoroscopy-guided radiologist administration, and 4 required general anesthesia. No complications/adverse events were reported. At last follow up, 5/8 families reported improved daily activities. Of 5 patients with baseline and follow up motor function testing, 3 demonstrated improved scores. One patient died due to respiratory decline at age 9 months, despite improved motor outcome scores. Conclusions: We describe the first Canadian post-marketing experience with Nusinersen. Timely dissemination of this information is needed to guide clinicians, hospital administrators, and policy-makers.
Introduction: Clinical context is critical for accurate radiologic interpretation of neuroimaging investigations. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of a change in the Emergency Department (ED) computerized provider order entry (CPOE) interface on the quality of clinical information conveyed in ED neuroimaging requisitions for suspected stroke patients. Methods: Four local EDs utilizing a common CPOE ED Stroke order set were studied before and after the introduction of a mandatory blank free text field requiring clinical information for the radiologist before a computed tomography angiography (CTA) request could be submitted. Prior to this modification, the indication (acute stroke) was pre-filled in the CTA request for convenience with the option of providing additional information at the discretion of the ordering physician. ED physicians were informed of the change as well as the rationale for its implementation. A retrospective pre (90 days) post (30 days) analysis was conducted across four local EDs to evaluate the impact of the CPOE user interface change on the quality of clinical information provided on neuroimaging orders. Patients aged 18 with CTA head and/or neck orders submitted from the order set were included. Patients were excluded if the CTA order was submitted outside of the ED Stroke order set, if order entry was by non-physician personnel, or if the order was modified by the diagnostic imaging department after ED submission. Clinical information from CTA orders were scored as complete, partial, or absent/uninformative based on a standardized rubric of critical elements, including: description of neurological deficit(s), lateralization, and timing of symptom onset or duration. Results were analyzed using chi square analysis. Results: Pre-implementation data from Oct 1, 2015 Jan 1, 2016 (N=652) was compared to post-implementation data from Nov 1 30, 2016 (N=227). The proportion of complete, partial, and absent/uninformative clinical histories were: 45.3%, 31.4%, and 23.3% in the pre-implementation period and 62.6%, 37.4%, and 0% in the post-implementation period respectively. There was a 38.2% relative increase in complete clinical histories, a 19.1% relative increase in partial clinical histories, and a 100% reduction in absent/uninformative clinical histories (p<0.001). Conclusion: The introduction of a mandatory free text field significantly increased the overall quality of clinical information provided on ED neuroimaging orders. This CPOE strategy has the potential to improve diagnostic accuracy and reduce unnecessary delays to imaging interpretation caused by lack of clinical information.
Introduction: Bronchiolitis is a viral respiratory infection and the most common reason for hospitalization of infants. Despite evidence that few interventions are beneficial in patients with bronchiolitis, other studies would have shown that a significant proportion of patients undergo various forms of low value care. This objective of this project was to 1. establish baseline management of bronchiolitis in the Calgary Zone, and 2. deliver audit and feedback (A&F) reports to pediatric emergency physicians (PEP) to identify opportunities and strategies for practice improvement. Methods: This retrospective cohort study included all patients 12 months old that presented to a Calgary emergency department or urgent care center with a diagnosis of bronchiolitis from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2017. Using data from various electronic health data sources, we captured age, vital signs, CTAS, common therapeutic interventions (bronchodilators, steroids, antibiotics) and investigations (chest x-ray (CXR), viral studies, antibiotics). Results were stratified by site and by admission status. Descriptive statistics were used to report baseline characteristics and interventions. Interhospital ranges (IHR) were provided to compare different hospitals in the zone. For the A&F component of the project, consenting PEP received a report of both their individual and peer comparator data and an in-person multi-disciplinary facilitated feedback session. Results: We included 4023 patients from all 6 sites (range from 28 to 3316 patients). Admission rates were 21.7% (IHR 0-29%). Mean age was 5.4 months old. Bronchodilator use was 27.0% (IHR 21-41%). 22.0% of patients received a CXR (IHR 0-57%) and 30.3% had viral studies done (IHR range 0.8-33%). PEP had higher usage of viral studies (30% vs 5.7%), whereas non-PEP had higher CXR usage (46.2% vs 23.4%). 41 of 66 PEP consented to receive their individual A&F reports (62%). In the facilitated feedback session PEP 1. identified two areas (bronchodilators and viral studies) where improvements could be made and 2. discussed specific strategies to decrease practice variation and minimize low value care including development of a multi-disciplinary care pathway, alignment with in-patient management, education and repeated A&F reports. Conclusion: Significant variability exists in management of patients with bronchiolitis across different hospitals in our zone. A facilitated feedback session identified areas for improvement and multi-disciplinary strategies to reduced low value care for patients with bronchiolitis. Future phases of this project include repeated data in 6 months and implementation of a provincial care pathway for the management of bronchiolitis.
Introduction: Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP), including preeclampsia, can develop or worsen in the early postpartum period, often following discharge from hospital, resulting in severe preventable maternal morbidity and mortality. Due to a lack of routine early out-patient follow-up, many women with postpartum HDP present to the emergency department (ED) with severe hypertension or symptoms of preeclampsia (e.g., headache). In the ED, postpartum HDP can be difficult for clinicians to recognize (due to vague presenting symptom) and manage (due to lower blood pressure targets and concern of medication safety). ED clinicians recognized a need for timely recognition and effective treatments for postpartum HDP in the ED to improve maternal outcomes. As such, as part of a multi-step quality improvement initiative, an interdisciplinary team developed and implemented a postpartum HDP management protocol (consisting of nursing and physician protocols and an electronic order set embedded in the electronic medical record). The aims of this specific project were to assess: 1) the use of this clinical management protocol in the ED; and 2) its impacts on clinical care. Methods: This quality improvement project used electronic medical records to identify: 1) ED visits for postpartum HDP for postpartum women ages 20-50; 2) utilization of the postpartum HDP order set; and 3) clinical care outcomes (consultation and admission). Patient population characteristics and clinical care measures were summarized with descriptive statistics and compared using a before and after design. Changes in the utilization of the protocol were assessed using run charts. Results: 540 women with postpartum HDP were seen in the four Calgary EDs in the 16-month period following protocol implementation compared with 335 women in the preceding 12 months. The protocol was used in 46% of these 540 women, and increased over the 16 month follow-up period. We found an increase in the frequency of consultation of specialists (47% to 52%) and admissions (26% to 29%) amongst these women after protocol implementation. Conclusion: This initial assessment demonstrated good uptake of a postpartum HDP management protocol including referral for consultation and admission to hospital for blood pressure management. Future steps include evaluation of the impacts of this management protocol on important patient outcomes.
Introduction: Choosing Wisely Canada has identified blood transfusions as a priority area for improving clinical appropriateness. Relevant recommendations include Dont transfuse blood if other non-transfusion therapies or observation would be just as effective. In parallel with this recommendation, the Alberta division of Towards Optimized Practice (ToP) has developed guidelines for the treatment of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) that emphasize the use of non-transfusion therapies (i.e. parenteral or oral iron, in appropriate patients). Choosing Wisely also emphasizes strategies to better engage patients in shared decision making. Methods: In order to better engage patients in shared decision making about their treatment options, both physician and patient handouts were developed using an iterative process. The development of the patient-facing documents began with a synthesis of educational materials currently available to patients with IDA. Clinical leaders from nine different specialties (Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Day Medicine, Hematology, and others) were continually engaged in the development of content using a consensus model. A focus group of ESCN patient advisors was assembled to review materials with an emphasis on: (1) Are the patient materials easily understood? (2) Are intended messages resonating while avoiding unintended messaging? (3) What information do patients require that has not been included? Following the focus group, revisions were made to patient materials and a subsequent online survey confirmed that the final version addressed any issues they had raised. Results: A four-page patient handout/infographic was developed utilizing best practices in information design, and in physician and patient engagement. Content includes the causes and symptoms of IDA, progressive treatment options from dietary changes to transfusion, and the four Choosing Wisely questions to discuss with your doctor. Conclusion: Patient education materials can be developed according to best practices in information design and stakeholder engagement. Patient focus groups demonstrate that such materials are easier to understand, and better equip patients to engage in shared decision making.
Introduction: Upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB) is a common medical condition presenting to emergency departments (ED) and associated with substantial morbidity, mortality, and healthcare expenditures. Our aim was to evaluate the incidence of patients presenting to ED with UGIB in a large population-based surveillance cohort. Methods: The National Ambulatory Care Reporting System (NACRS) was used to identify all presentations to emergency departments for UGIB in Alberta from fiscal year 2010 to 2015 (n=56519) using the International Classification of Diseases Codes (ICD-10) in any diagnostic position. Baseline characteristics and UGIB incidence were calculated using descriptive statistics. Joinpoint regression models were used to calculate the average annual percent change (AAPC) with 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results: The median age of 56519 UGIB presentations was 56 years (interquartile range: 41 to 74 years), 56% were male, and 245% had at least one comorbidity. At time of disposition from the ED , 48.3% were admitted to or transferred to another hospital, 51.4% discharged, and 0.3% died in the emergency department. Further, 10.8% underwent upper endoscopy during their admission to the emergency department. The annual incidence of UGIB were 230.6 (2010), 232.8 (2011), 241.0 (2012), 242.2 (2013), 244.6 (2014), and 242.2 (2015) per 100,000 person-years. Between 2010 and 2015 the incidence of UGIB presenting to ED significantly increased overtime (AAPC=1.1; 95% CI: 0.3 to 2.0). Conclusion: UGIB is a common presentation to emergency departments and has been increasing overtime. Future studies are necessary to evaluate the underlying cause of UGIB and to determine its burden to Albertas healthcare system.
Introduction: Prior research has shown that audit and feedback (A &F) can be an effective tool for practice change. However, questions remain about how to optimize A&F. The objectives of this project were to determine if: 1) there are differences in practice between physicians who do, and do not, consent to receive a confidential report on their practice and; 2) if there is a relationship between consenting physicians self-predicted and actual practice. Methods: This was a prospective, cross-sectional study embedded in a larger quality improvement (QI) initiative to align physician practice with best evidence in the emergency department (ED) care of infants with bronchiolitis. All physicians practicing in the ED of a tertiary care pediatric hospital were offered the opportunity to consent to receive an individual, confidential data report on their practice. Prior to receiving their data, consenting physicians completed a survey which asked them to predict the proportion of bronchiolitic patients for whom they ordered diagnostic tests or treatments. We used chi-squared testing to compare the proportion of consenting and non-consenting physicians whose diagnostic test (Chest X-ray (CXR), viral study) and treatment (steroid, Ventolin) ordering was above the median for all ED physicians. We used Pearsons correlation to assess the relationship between consenting physicians self -predicted and actual practice. Results: 56% (37/66) of physicians consented to receive a data report. The median proportion of patients with an x-ray ordered was 20%, 63% of non-consenters were above the median, compared to 36% of consenters (X2 (1, N=66)=4.91 p=0.03). For viral testing, 31% of patients had a test ordered, with 50% of non-consenters and 50% consenters above the median (( X2 (1, N=66) =0 p=1); 11% of patients had steroids ordered, with 53% of non-consenters and 47% of consenters above the median ( X2 (1, N=66)=0.24 p-0.621); and 18% of patients had Ventolin ordered, with 60% of non-consenters and 42% of consenters above the median ( X2 (1, N=66) =2.2 p=0.138). There was a moderate correlation between physicians predicted and actual practice with respect to viral testing (r=0.67), but minimal correlation for CXR (0.05), steroids (r=0.17) or Ventolin (r=0.33) ordering. Conclusion: The finding that physicians have a limited ability to accurately predict their own performance emphasizes the importance of providing physicians with feedback. However, our results suggest that the consent process may be a potential barrier to effective A &F.
Introduction: Hospital admission within 72 hours of emergency discharge is a widely accepted measure of emergency department quality of care. Patients returning for unplanned admission may reveal opportunities for improved emergency or followup care. Calgary emergency physicians, however, are rarely notified of these readmissions. Aggregate site measures provide a high level view of readmissions for managers, but dont allow for timely, individual reflection on practice and learning opportunities. These aggregations may also not correctly account for variation in planned readmissions and other workflow nuances. There was a process in place at one facility to compile and communicate readmission details to each physician, but it was manual, provided limited visit detail, and was done weeks or months following discharge. Methods: A new, realtime 72 hour readmission notification recently implemented within the Calgary Zone provides direct and automated email alerts to all emergency physicians and residents involved in the care of a patient that has been readmitted. This alert is sent within hours of a readmission occurring and contains meaningful visit detail (discharge diagnosis, readmit diagnosis, patient name, etc) to help support practice reflection. An average of 15 alerts per day are generated and have been sent since implementation in April, 2017. Although an old technology, the use of email is a central component of the solution because it allows physicians to receive notifications at home and outside the hospital network where they routinely perform administrative tasks. A secondary notification is sent to personal email accounts (Gmail, Hotmail, etc) to indicate an unplanned admission has occurred, but without visit detail or identifiable information. It also allowed implementation with no new hardware or software cost. Results: A simple thumbs up/down rating system is used to adjust the sensitivity of the alert over time. More than 66% of those providing feedback have indicated the alert is helpful for practice reflection (i.e., thumbs up). And of those that indicated it was not helpful, comments were often entered indicating satisfaction with the alert generally, or suggestions for improvement. For example, consulted admitting physicians are often responsible for discharge decisions and should be added as recipients of the alert. Conclusion: Many physicians have indicated appreciation in knowing about return patients, and that they will reflect on their care, further review the chart, or contact the admitting physician for further discussion. Most are accepting of some ‘expected’ or ‘false positive’ alerts that aren’t helpful for practice reflection. Further tuning and expansion of the alert to specialist and consult services is needed to ensure all physicians involved in a discharge decision are adequately notified.
Introduction: There is a growing interest in providing clinicians with performance reports via audit and feedback (A&F). Despite significant evidence exists to support A&F as a tool for self-reflection and identifying unperceived learning needs, there are many questions that remain such as the optimal content of the A&F reports, the method of dissemination for emergency physicians (EP) and the perceived benefit. The goal of the project was to 1. evaluate EP perceptions regarding satisfaction with A&F reports and its’ ability to stimulate physicians to identify opportunities for practice change and 2. identify areas for optimization of the A&F reports. Methods: EP practicing at any of the four adult hospital sites in Calgary were eligible. We conducted a web survey using a modified Dillman technique eliciting EP perspectives regarding satisfaction, usefulness and suggestions for improvement regarding the A&F reports. Quantitative data were analyzed descriptively and free-text were subjected to thematic analysis. Results: From 2015 onwards, EP could access their clinical performance data via an online dashboard. Despite the online reports being available, few physicians reviewed their reports stating access and perceived lack of utility as a barrier. In October 2016, we began disseminated static performance reports to all EP containing a subset of 10 clinical and operational performance metrics via encrypted e-mail. These static reports provided clinician with their performance with peer comparator data (anonymized), rationale and evidence for A&F, information on how to use the report and how to obtain continuing medical education credits for reviewing the report. Conclusion: Of 177 EP in Calgary, we received 49 completed surveys (response rate 28%). 86% of the respondents were very/satisfied with the report. 88% of EP stated they would take action based on the report including self-reflection (91%) and modifying specific aspects of their practice (63%). Respondents indicated that by receiving static reports, 77% were equally or more likely to visit the online version of the eA&F tool. The vast majority of EP felt that receiving the A&F reports on a semi-annual basis was preferred. Three improvements were made to the eA&F based on survey results: 1) addition of trend over time data, 2) new clinical metrics, and 3) optimization of report layout. We also initiated a separate, real-time 72-hour bounceback electronic notification system based on the feedback. EP value the dissemination of clinical performance indicators both in static report and dashboard format. Eliciting feedback from clinicians allows iterative optimization of eA&F. Based on these results, we plan to continue to provide physicians with A&F reports on a semi-annual basis.
Introduction: Non-variceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding (NVUGIB) is a common presentation to the emergency department (ED) accounting for significant morbidity, mortality and health care resource usage. In Alberta, a provincial care pathway was recently developed to provide an evidence informed approach to managing patients with an UGIBs in the ED. Pantoprazole infusions are a commonly used treatment despite evidence that suggests they are generally not indicated prior to endoscopy in the ED. The goal of this project was to optimize management of patients with a NVUGIB, in particular reduce pre-endoscopy pantoprazole infusions. Methods: In July 2016, we implemented a multi-faceted intervention to optimize management of ED patients with NVUGIB including 1. de-emphasizing IV pantoprazole infusions in the ED, 2. clinical decision support (CDS) embedded (for endoscopy, disposition and transfusions) within the order set and 3. educating clinicians about the care pathway. We used a pre/post-order set design, analyzing 391 days pre and 189 days post-order set changes. Data was extracted from our fully integrated electronic health records system. The primary outcome was the % of patients receiving IV pantoprazole infusion ordered by an emergency physician (EP) among all patients with NVUGIB. Secondary outcomes included % transfused with hgb >70g/L and whether using the GIB order set impacted management of NVUGIB patients. Results: In the 391 days pre-order set changes, there were 2165 patients included and in the 189 days post-order set changes, there were 901 patients. For baseline characteristics, patients in the post-order set change group were significantly older (64.4 yrs vs 60.9 yrs p-value=0.0016) and had a lower hgb (115 vs 118, p-value=0.049) but otherwise for gender, measures of severity of illness (systolic blood pressure, heart rate, CTAS, % admitted) there were no significantly differences. For the primary outcome, in the pre-order set phase, 47.1% received a pantoprazole infusion ordered by an EP, compared to 31.5% in the post-order phase, for an absolute reduction of 15.6% (p-value= <0.001). For the secondary outcomes, transfusion rates were similar pre/post (22.08% vs 22.75%). Significant inter-site variability exists with respect to the reduction in pantoprazole infusion rates across the four sites (-23.3% to +6.12%). Conclusion: Our interventions resulted in a significant overall reduction in pantoprazole infusions in ED patients with NVUGIB. Reductions in pantoprazole infusions varied significantly across the different sites, future work in our department will explore and address this variability. Keys to the success of this project included engaging clinicians as well as leveraging the SCM order sets as well as the provincial care pathway. Although there were no changes in transfusion rates, it in unclear if this a function of the CDS not being effective or whether these transfusions were clinically indicated.