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A crucial component of a hospital’s disaster plan is an efficient staff recall communication method. Many hospitals use a “calling tree” protocol to contact staff members and recall them to work. Alternative staff recall methods have been proposed and explored.
An unannounced, multidisciplinary, randomized emergency department (ED) staff recall drill was conducted at night - when there is the greatest need for back-up personnel and staff is most difficult to reach. The drill was performed on December 14, 2017 at 4:00am and involved ED staff members from three hospitals which are all part of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC; Montreal, Quebec, Canada). Three tools were compared: manual phone tree, instant messaging application (IMA), and custom-made hospital Short Message Service (SMS) system. The key outcome measures were proportion of responses at 45 minutes and median response time.
One-hundred thirty-two participants were recruited. There were 44 participants in each group after randomization. In the manual phone tree group, 18 (41%) responded within 45 minutes. In the IMA group, 11 participants (25%) responded in the first 45 minutes. In the SMS group, seven participants responded in the first 45 minutes (16%). Manual phone tree was significantly better than SMS with an effect size of 25% (95% confidence interval for effect: 4.6% to 45.0%; P=.018). Conversely, there was no significant difference between manual phone tree and IMA with an effect size of 16% (95% confidence interval for effect: −5.7% to 38.0%; P=.17) There was a statistically significant difference in the median response time between the three groups with the phone tree group presenting the lowest median response time (8.5 minutes; range: 2.0 to 8.5 minutes; P=.000006).
Both the phone tree and IMA groups had a significantly higher response rate than the SMS group. There was no significant difference between the proportion of responses at 45 minutes in the phone tree and the IMA arms. This study suggests that an IMA may be a viable alternative to the traditional phone tree method. Limitations of the study include volunteer bias and the fact that there was only one communication drill, which did not allow staff members randomized to the IMA and SMS groups to fully get familiar with the new staff recall methods.
HomierV, HamadR, LarocqueJ, ChasséP, KhalilE, FrancJM.A Randomized Trial Comparing Telephone Tree, Text Messaging, and Instant Messaging App for Emergency Department Staff Recall for Disaster Response. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2018;33(5):471–477.
Mass-casualty incidents (MCIs) easily overwhelm a health care facility’s human and material resources through the extraordinary influx of casualties. Efficient and accurate triage of incoming casualties is a critical step in the hospital disaster response.
Traditionally, triage during MCIs has been manually performed using paper cards. This study investigated the use of electronic Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment (START) triage as compared to the manual method.
This observational, crossover study was performed during a live MCI simulation at an urban, Canadian, Level 1 trauma center on May 26, 2016. Health care providers (two medical doctors [MDs], two paramedics [PMs], and two registered nurses [RNs]) each triaged a total of 30 simulated patients - 15 by manual (paper-based) and 15 by electronic (computer-based) START triage. Accuracy of triage categories and time of triage were analyzed. Post-simulation, patients and participating health care providers also completed a feedback form.
There was no difference in accuracy of triage between the electronic and manual methods overall, 83% and 80% (P=1.0), between providers or between triage categories. On average, triage time using the manual method was estimated to be 8.4 seconds faster (P<.001) for PMs; and while small differences in triage times were observed for MDs and RNs, they were not significant. Data from the participant feedback survey showed that the electronic method was preferred by most health care providers. Patients had no preference for either method. However, patients perceived the computer-based method as “less personal” than the manual triage method, but they also perceived the former as “better organized.”
Hospital-based electronic START triage had the same accuracy as hospital-based manual START triage, regardless of triage provider type or acuity of patient presentations. Time of triage results suggest that speed may be related to provider familiarity with a modality rather than the modality itself. Finally, according to patient and provider perceptions, electronic triage is a feasible modality for hospital triage of mass casualties. Further studies are required to assess the performance of electronic hospital triage, in the context of a rapid surge of patients, and should consider additional efficiencies built in to electronic triage systems. This study presents a framework for assessing the accuracy, triage time, and feasibility of digital technologies in live simulation training or actual MCIs.
BolducC, MaghrabyN, FokP, LuongTM, HomierV. Comparison of Electronic Versus Manual Mass-Casualty Incident Triage. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2018;33(3):273–278.
La pneumonie est une cause bien connue de douleur abdominale aiguë chez les enfants. L'utilité de la radiographie pulmonaire dans ce contexte est toutefois controversée. Nous avons cherché à déterminer la prévalence de la pneumonie chez les enfants de moins de 12 ans qui souffraient de douleur abdominale et ont eu une radiographie abdominale à l'urgence. Nous voulions aussi décrire les signes et les symptômes des enfants chez lesquels on a diagnostiqué une pneumonie dans ce contexte.
Nous avons procédé à une analyse rétrospective des données électroniques tirées des visites effectuées à l'urgence d'un centre de soins tertiaires par des enfants de 12 ans et moins examinés entre le 1er juin 2001 et le 30 juin 2003 et qui ont eu une radiographie abdominale et pulmonaire au cours de la même visite, ou une radiographie abdominale au cours d'une première visite et une radiographie pulmonaire dans les 10 jours suivant la visite initiale.
Sur les 1584 visites étudiées, on a repéré 30 cas de pneumonie, ce qui représente une prévalence de 1,89 % (intervalle de confiance à 95 %, 1,22 %–1,56 %). Si on avait limité la radiographie pulmonaire aux enfants qui avaient de la fière, toussaient et présentaient des symptômes d'infection des voies respiratoires supérieures (IVRS), on aurait raté le diagnostic de pneumonie dans seulement 2 cas sur 1584 (0,13 %).
Les enfants de 12 ans et moins qui se présentent à l'urgence avec une douleur abdominale aiguë et pour lesquels on demande une radiographie abdominale n'ont besoin que d'une radiographie pulmonaire s'ils toussent, ont de la fière ou présentent d'autres symptômes d'IVRS.
Pneumonia is a well-known cause of acute abdominal pain in children. However, the utility of chest radiography in this setting is controversial. We sought to determine the prevalence of pneumonia in children under 12 years of age who had abdominal pain and underwent abdominal radiography when visiting an emergency department (ED). We also aimed to describe the signs and symptoms of children diagnosed with pneumonia in this context.
We conducted a retrospective analysis of electronic data from ED visits to a tertiary care centre by children 12 years of age and under who were seen between June 1, 2001, and June 30, 2003, and who underwent both an abdominal and a chest radiograph during the same visit, or an abdominal x-ray at a first visit as well as a chest x-ray in the 10 days following the initial visit.
Of 1584 visits studied, 30 cases of pneumonia were identified, for a prevalence of 1.89% (95% confidence interval 1.22%–1.56%). If chest radiography had been limited to children who presented with fever, cough and symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI), the diagnosis of pneumonia would have been missed in only 2/1584 visits (0.13%).
Children aged 12 years and under presenting to the ED with acute abdominal pain and in whom an abdominal radiograph is requested need only undergo a chest radiograph in the presence of cough, fever or other symptoms of a URTI.
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