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We sought to identify emergency department interventions that lead to improvement in door-to-electrocardiogram (ECG) times for adults presenting with symptoms suggestive of acute coronary syndrome.
Two reviewers searched Medline, Embase, CINAHL, and Cochrane CENTRAL from inception to April 2018 for studies in adult emergency departments with an identifiable intervention to reduce median door-to-ECG times when compared with the institution's baseline. Quality was assessed using the Quality Improvement Minimum Quality Criteria Set critical appraisal tool. The primary outcome was the absolute median reduction in door-to-ECG times as calculated by the difference between the post-intervention time and pre-intervention time.
Two reviewers identified 809 unique articles, yielding 11 before-after quality improvement studies that met eligibility criteria (N = 15,622 patients). The majority of studies (10/11) reported bundled interventions, and most (10/11) showed statistical improvement in door-to-ECG times. The most common interventions were having a dedicated ECG machine and technician in triage (5/11); improved triage education (4/11); improved triage disposition (2/11); and data feedback mechanisms (2/11).
There are multiple interventions that show potential for reducing emergency department door-to-ECG times. Effective bundled interventions include having a dedicated ECG technician, triage education, and better triage disposition. These changes can help institutions attain best practice guidelines. Emergency departments must first understand their local context before adopting any single or group of interventions.
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