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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.
Introduction: Within Alberta, 30% of patients presenting to emergency with minor traumatic brain injury (mTBI) will receive a CT scan before being sent home, regardless of whether it was clinically indicated. Choosing Wisely (CW) Canada recommends using validated clinical decision support to determine whether a CT scan is necessary for patients presenting with a mTBI. In order to provide patients with information on the risks and benefits of CT scans in mTBI and to encourage discussions between patients and their doctor, the Emergency StrategicClinical Network (ESCN) designed a patient focused information visualization on CT scans for head injuries. Methods: The ESCN, Physician Learning Program and CW Alberta partnered with the Mount Royal University Department of Information Design to develop a patient information visualization (infographic) intervention. Students spent a semester developing these infographics on Choosing Wisely recommendations, which were then presented to stakeholders. A student was then selected to develop a final design. Refinement of the design took place in consultation with clinical experts and tested in two patient focus groups. The final design was evaluated against the International Patient Decision Aid Standards checklist. The infographic was posted in 2 local emergency department waiting rooms. A survey was administered to any patients in the waiting room when volunteers were available. The survey was designed to evaluate whether the tool influenced patient beliefs about the risks and benefits of CT scans, and their willingness to engage in a discussion with their doctor. Results: In a 26 day period, 90 patients consented and completed the survey. Before reading the infographic, 33% of patients thought that after a head injury a CT was always a good idea and 63% thought it was sometimes a good idea. 82% and 91% of patients stated the poster helped them understand the indications and risks of CT imaging for mTBI. After viewing the poster, only 15% of patients felt that a CT was always a good idea after a mTBI. Conclusion: The mTBI patient infographic significantly changed patient perceptions regarding the need for CT scans in the setting of mTBI. This study demonstrates that targeted patient education materials can help support CW recommendations.
Introduction: Recently, campaigns placing considerable emphasis on improving emergency department (ED) care by reducing unnecessary tests, treatments, and/or procedures have been initiated. This study explored how Canadian emergency physicians (EPs) conceptualize unnecessary care in the ED. Methods: An online 60-question survey was distributed to EP-members of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) with valid emails. The survey explored respondents awareness/support for initiatives to improve ED care (i.e., reduce unnecessary tests, treatments and/or procedures) and asked respondents to define “unnecessary care” in the ED. Thematic qualitative analysis was performed on these responses to identify key themes and sub-themes and explore variation among EPs definitions of unnecessary care. Results: A total of 324 surveys were completed (response rate: 18%); 300 provided free-text definitions of unnecessary care. Most commonly, unnecessary ED care was defined as: 1) performing tests, treatments, procedures, and/or consults that were not indicated or potentially harmful (n=169) and/or 2) care that should have been provided within a non-emergent context for a non-urgent patient (n=143). Emergency physicians highlighted the role of system-level factors and system failures that result in ED presentations as definitions of unnecessary care (n=69). They also noted a distinction between providing necessary care for a non-urgent patient and performing inappropriate/non-evidenced based care. Finally, a tension emerged in their description of frustration with patient expectations (n=17) and/or non-ED referrals (n=24) for specific tests, treatments, and/or procedures. These frustrations were juxtaposed by participants who asserted that “in a patient-centred care environment, no care is unnecessary” (Participant 50; n=12). Conclusion: Variation in the definition of unnecessary ED care is evident among EPs and illustrates that EPs’ conceptualization of unnecessary care is more nuanced than current campaigns addressing ED care improvements represent. This may contribute to a perceived lack of uptake or support for these initiatives. Further exploring EPs perceptions of these campaigns has the potential to improve EP engagement and influence the language utilized by these programs.
Introduction: Choosing Wisely Canada® (CWC) launched in April 2012. Since then, the Emergency Medicine (EM) top-10 list of tests, treatments and procedures to avoid has been released and initiatives are on-going. This study explored CWC awareness and support among emergency physicians. Methods: A 60-question online survey was distributed to Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) members with valid e-mails. The survey collected information on demographics, awareness/support for CWC as well as physicians’ perceived barriers and facilitators to implementation. Descriptive statistics were performed in SPSS (Version 24). Results: Overall, 324 surveys were completed (response rate: 18%). Respondents were more often male (64%) and practiced at academic/tertiary care hospitals (56%) with mixed patient populations (74%) with annual ED volumes of >50,000 (70%). Respondents were familiar with campaigns to improve care (90%). Among these respondents, 98% were specifically familiar with CWC and 73% felt these campaigns assisted them in providing high-quality care. Respondents felt that the top-5 EM recommendations were supported by high quality evidence, specifically the first 4 recommendations (>90% each). The most frequently reported barriers to implementation were: patients’ expectations/requests (33%), the possibility of missing severe condition(s) (20%), and requirements of ED consultations (12%). Potential facilitators were identified as: strong evidence-base for recommendations (37%), medico-legal protection for clinicians who adhere to guidelines (13%), and support from institutional leadership (11%). Conclusion: CWC is well-known and supported by emergency physicians. Despite the low response rate, exploring the barriers and facilitators identified here could enhance CWC’s uptake in Canadian emergency departments.
Introduction: In certain circumstances, skin and soft tissue infections are managed with intravenous (IV) antibiotics. In our center, patients initiated on outpatient IV antibiotics are followed up by a home parental therapy program the following day. A significant number of these patients require a repeat visit to the ED because of clinic hours. Probenecid is a drug that can prolong the half-life of certain antibiotics (such as cefazolin) and can therefore avoid a repeat ED visit, reducing health care costs and improve ED capacity. Our goal was to increase probenecid usage in the ED in order to optimize management of skin and soft tissue infections (SSTI) in the ED. The primary outcome was to compare the usage of probenecid in the pre and post-intervention phase. Secondary outcomes were to compare revisit rates between patients receiving cefazolin alone vs cefazolin + probenecid. Methods: Using administrative data merged with Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE), we extracted data 90 days pre- and 90 post-intervention (February 11, 2015 to August 11, 2015). The setting for the study is an urban center (4 adult ED’s with an annual census of over 320,000 visits per year). Our CPOE system is fully integrated into the ED patient care. The multi-faceted intervention involved modifying all relevant SSTI order sets in the CPOE system to link any cefazolin order with an order for probenecid. Physicians and nurses were provided with a 1 page summary of probenecid (indications, contra-indications, pharmacology), as well as decision support with the CPOE. Any patients who were receiving outpatient cefazolin therapy were included in the study. Results: Our analysis included 2512 patients (1148 and 1364 patients in the pre/post phases) who received cefazolin in the ED and were discharged during the 180 day period. Baseline variables (gender, age, % admitted) and ED visits were similar in both phases. In the pre-intervention phase 30.2% of patients received probenecid and in the post-intervention phase 43.0%, for a net increase of 12.8% (p=<0.0001). Patients who received probenecid had a 2.2% (11.4% vs 13.6%, p=0.014) lower re-visit rate in the following 72H. Conclusion: We have implemented a CPOE based clinical decision support intervention that demonstrated significant increase in probenecid usage by emergency physician and resulted in a decrease in ED revisits. This intervention would result in health care cost-savings.
Introduction: Patients who are homeless and/or using substances rely heavily on emergency departments (ED) for medical care, and present with complex medical and social needs. Negative physician attitudes towards this population undermine the therapeutic relationship, compromising the quality of medical care provided. The objective of this study was to determine the attitudes of emergency physicians towards homeless and substance-using patients. Methods: Using a Modified Total Design approach, we conducted a cross-sectional survey of emergency physicians at five different healthcare locations in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Attitudes were assessed using two validated measures, the Health Care Providers Attitudes Towards the Homeless Inventory (HPATHI), and the Short Understanding of Substance Use Scale (SUSS). Surveys were self-administered by respondents between March and December 2013. Results: A total of 117 physicians completed the survey (response rate 48%). 28% of respondents resented the amount of time it takes to see homeless patients, and 32% believed caring for homeless patients was not financially viable; 57% felt overwhelmed by the complexity of problems that homeless people have. Physicians with extra training in addiction medicine or health care for the homeless had more positive attitudes than physicians with no extra training; physician attitudes worsened over time towards both populations. Conclusion: Physicians feel overwhelmed when caring for patients who are homeless and/or substance using and negative attitudes worsened over time. Extra training in addiction medicine or healthcare for the homeless is associated with more positive attitudes. Possible strategies to improve attitudes should include a multifaceted approach addressing individual physician knowledge deficits, as well as expanded access to resources in the ED and community, designed to deal with the complex needs of these populations.
Introduction: In the Emergency Department (ED), increasing time pressures and acuity require physicians to have access to quick and reliable data to guide patient care decisions. Blood gases (BGs) allow quick access to key information, and are used frequently in the ED. Our objective was to review the literature on reliability and accuracy of electrolyte measurements obtained from BGs in high acuity settings. Methods: A comprehensive literature review was conducted in September of 2015. The search strategy, done in conjunction with a medical librarian, identified studies that assessed the accuracy of BGs when compared to traditional laboratory serum measurements. Prior to the review we determined sodium and potassium would be the area of focus. Eligibility parameters for the studies included samples from acute care areas - the ED and ICU - and a comparison of BG and serum values taken simultaneously from the patient. Results: Our review included 12 studies, 9 in adult and 3 in pediatrics. There were approximately 1,135 patients included, consisting of 851 adult and 284 pediatric cases. The results were mixed; 9 studies agreed that sodium and potassium readings from BGs were accurate enough to guide acute care decisions, 5 did not. Furthermore, important questions were raised regarding the varying accuracy of BGs depending on what physiological level the electrolytes were at during the time of collection, i.e. at critical vs non-critical levels. Conclusion: This is the first literature review to examine the existing evidence on the accuracy of BGs in acute care environments. Given the variability in the results, a larger study needs to be done to determine the validity and reliability of blood gases for electrolytes in acute care settings. Only by ensuring the accuracy of data collected via point-of-care BGs can the most informed decisions be made surrounding patient care in acute care settings.
Introduction: The decision to treat with parenteral therapy may reflect a variable practice pattern among emergency physicians and represent an opportunity to standardize care. Our objective was to describe physician level practice variation for IV therapies in patients with low-acuity presentations and quantify the contribution of IV therapy to prolonging ED LOS. Methods: Using administrative data merged with computerized physician order entry information we sampled 48 months of patient variables across four urban EDs (Jan 1, 2014 - Dec 22, 2015). Eligible patients: 1. presented with complaints of abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting or diarrhea or had a discharge diagnosis of cellulitis 2.were in a low acuity category (Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale - CTAS 3 or 4) 3.were triaged to non-stretcher zones of the ED and 4.were not admitted to hospital. The primary outcome was the physician-level variation in the decision to order IV therapies for this patient group; namely one or more of the following: IV fluids, opioid analgesia, anti-emetics and antibiotics. Secondary outcomes were a comparison of ED LOS, ED revisits at 7 days and ED revisits resulting in admission at 7 days for the IV and non-IV groups. Results: Our analysis included 31 802 patient visits treated by 185 physicians. The average patient age was 37.8 years with 64.3% being female and the majority triaged as CTAS 3 (82.5%). On average 24% of these visits were treated with IV therapies; 90th percentile; 34%. For physicians seeing in excess of 100 cases, the variation in IV therapy use ranged from 1% to 47%. Patients receiving IV therapies demonstrated a 44% greater average LOS (6.2 hours vs 4.3 hours) and those receiving IV therapies had higher 7-day ED revisit rates (12.0% vs 8.8%) as well as 7-day ED revisits resulting in readmission (2.4% vs 1.0%). 'mso-spacerun:yes'> Secondary outcomes were a comparison of ED LOS, ED revisits at 7 days and ED revisits resulting in admission at 7 days for the IV and non-IV groups. Conclusion: This is the first study to examine physician preference for the use of IV therapies in a low-acuity population and has demonstrated in excess of a 47-fold variation between both extremes of use. Reducing practice variation in this area of ED care by standardizing indications for IV therapies could result in more rational resource utilization and improved throughput.
Introduction: In light of escalating health care costs, initiatives such as Choosing Wisely have been advocating the need to “reduce unnecessary or wasteful medical tests, treatments and procedures”. We have identified coagulation studies as one of those low cost, but frequently ordered items, where we can decrease unnecessary testing and costs by leveraging our Computerized Practitioner Order Entry (CPOE). Considerable evidence exists to suggest a low yield of doing coagulation studies (herein defined as PTT AND INR’s) in suspected cardiac chest pain patients (SCCP). Methods: Using administrative data merged with CPOE we extracted data 90 days pre- and 90 post-intervention (Pre-intervention: May 20, 2015 to August 19th 2015, Post-intervention: August 20th, 2015 to November 18th 2015). The setting for the study is a large urban center (4 adult ED’s with an annual census of over 320,000 visits per year). Our CPOE system is fully integrated into the ED patient care. The intervention involved modifying the nursing CPOE to remove the pre-selected coagulation studies in SCCP and providing education around appropriate usage of coagulation studies. Patients were included in the study if the bedside nurse or physician felt 1. the chest pain may be cardiac in nature and 2. Labs were ordered. The primary outcome was to compare the number of coagulation studies ordered pre and post-intervention. Results: Our analysis included 10,776 patients that were included in an SCCP pathway as determined by the CPOE database. Total number of visits in these two phases were similar (73,551 pre and 72, 769 post). In the pre-intervention phase, 5255 coagulation studies were done (4246 ordered by nursing staff and 1009 studies ordered by ED physicians). In the post-intervention phase, 1464 coagulation studies were ordered (1211 by nursing staff and 253 additional tests were ordered by ED physicians). With our intervention, we identified a net reduction of 3791 coagulation studies in our post-intervention phase for a reduction of 72.14% reduction (p=<0.0001) At a cost of 15.00$ (CDN$ at our center), we would realize an estimated cost -savings of 56,865$ for this intervention over a 90 day period. Conclusion: We have implemented a simple, sustainable, evidence based intervention that significantly minimizes the use of unnecessary coagulation studies in patients presenting with SCCP.