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P041: Point-of-care ultrasound utilization and monetary outcomes (POCUMON) study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 May 2020

D. Rusiecki
Affiliation:
Queen's University, Kingston, ON
S. Douglas
Affiliation:
Queen's University, Kingston, ON
C. Bell
Affiliation:
Queen's University, Kingston, ON

Abstract

Introduction: Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is an integral tool in the modern emergency physician's toolkit. Evidence suggests many imaging and lab investigations are ordered without true medical indications; it is unknown how POCUS utilization impacts health care costs at a patient level. The purpose of this study was to assess whether POCUS use in the emergency department (ED) was associated with cost savings via decreased laboratory and radiographic testing. Methods: POCUMON is a single-center, prospective pilot study. The participants were a convenience sample of ED staff physicians and PGY-5 Emergency Medicine (EM) residents working in the ED from July-October 2019. Physicians who used POCUS as part of their assessment had the cost of their patient investigation plans compared with those proposed by a control group of ED physicians simultaneously on-shift. The control group was blinded to the POCUS findings but had access to the patient and medical record. The lab investigations and imaging studies ordered by both groups were recorded with respective costs. Data were analyzed using a paired T-test, with sub-group analyses. Ethics approval was obtained from the Queen's University HSREB (No.6026732). Results: 50 patient assessments using POCUS were captured in the study period. 76% of patient assessments were performed by EM staff physicians; 94% of control assessments were provided by EM staff physicians. Patient chief complaints included abdominal pain (7), chest pain/dyspnea (10), flank pain (3), pregnancy concerns (4), trauma (7), extremity complaints (4), back pain (3), and other (12). The POCUS group had a trend for lower number of laboratory tests (4.7 ± 0.44 vs 5.22 ± 0.39; p = 0.28) and imaging studies (0.94 ± 0.14 vs 1.1 ± 0.11; p = 0.33). Overall health care costs were similar in both groups, with a trend to cost savings in the POCUS group ($142.00 ± 15.44 vs $174.60 ± 17.00; p = 0.12). Subgrouping identified significant cost savings in the POCUS group for patients with a chief complaint of flank pain ($43.64 vs $248.82, p = 0.01). Conclusion: POCUS use was not associated with significant health care cost savings. ED POCUS usage did see a trend towards decreased laboratory and imaging investigations. Patients presenting with flank pain had significantly lower expenditures associated with their visit when POCUS was incorporated into their assessment. Large scale prospective studies are needed to investigate if POCUS is associated with cost-savings in ED patients.

Type
Poster Presentations
Copyright
Copyright © Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians 2020
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