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Routine coagulation testing is rarely indicated in the emergency department. Our goal is to determine the combined effects of uncoupling routine coagulation testing (i.e., international normalized ratio [INR]; activated partial thromboplastin time [aPTT]), disseminating an educational module, and implementing a clinical decision support system (CDSS) on coagulation testing rates in two academic emergency departments.
A prospective pre-post study of INR-aPTT uncoupling, educational module distribution, and CDSS implementation in two academic emergency departments. All patients ages 18 years and older undergoing evaluation and treatment during the period of August 1, 2015, to November 30, 2017, were included. Primary outcome was coagulation testing utilization during the emergency department encounter. Secondary outcomes included associated costs, frequency of downstream testing, and frequency of blood transfusions.
Uncoupling INR-aPTT testing combined with educational module distribution and CDSS implementation resulted in significantly decreased coupled INR-aPTT testing, with significantly increased selective INR and aPTT testing. Overall, the aggregate rate of coagulation testing declined for both INR and aPTT testing (48 tests/100 patients/day to 26 tests/100 patients/day). There was a significant decrease in associated daily costs (median cost per day: $1048.32 v. $601.68), realizing estimated annual savings of $163,023 Canadian dollars (CAD). There was no signal of increased downstream testing or patient blood product requirements.
Compared to baseline practice patterns, our multimodal initiative significantly decreased coagulation testing, with meaningful cost savings and without evidence of patient harm. Clinicians and administrators now have a growing toolkit to target the plethora of low-value tests and treatments in emergency medicine.
Patients with poorly controlled diabetes mellitus may have a sentinel emergency department (ED) visit for a precipitating condition prior to presenting for a hyperglycemic emergency, such as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) or hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (HHS). This study’s objective was to describe the epidemiology and outcomes of patients with a sentinel ED visit prior to their hyperglycemic emergency visit.
This was a 1-year health records review of patients≥18 years old presenting to one of four tertiary care EDs with a discharge diagnosis of hyperglycemia, DKA, or HHS. Trained research personnel collected data on patient characteristics, management, disposition, and determined whether patients came to the ED within the 14 days prior to their hyperglycemia visit. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the data.
Of 833 visits for hyperglycemia, 142 (17.0%; 95% CI: 14.5% to 19.6%) had a sentinel ED presentation within the preceding 14 days. Mean (SD) age was 50.5 (19.0) years and 54.4% were male; 104 (73.2%) were discharged from this initial visit, and 98/104 (94.2%) were discharged either without their glucose checked or with an elevated blood glucose (>11.0 mmol/L). Of the sentinel visits, 93 (65.5%) were for hyperglycemia and 22 (15.5%) for infection. Upon returning to the ED, 61/142 (43.0%) were admitted for severe hyperglycemia, DKA, or HHS.
In this unique ED-based study, diabetic patients with a sentinel ED visit often returned and required subsequent admission for hyperglycemia. Clinicians should be vigilant in checking blood glucose and provide clear discharge instructions for follow-up and glucose management to prevent further hyperglycemic emergencies from occurring.
Computerized provider order entry (CPOE) has been established as a method to improve patient safety by avoiding medication errors; however, its effect on emergency department (ED) flow remains undefined. We examined the impact of CPOE implementation on three measures of ED throughput: wait time (WT), length of stay (LOS), and the proportion of patients that left without being seen (LWBS).
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all ED patients of 18 years and older presenting to London Health Sciences Centre during July and August 2013 and 2014, before and after implementation of a CPOE system. The three primary variables were compared between time periods. Subgroup analyses were also conducted within each Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) level (1–5) individually, as well as for admitted patients only.
A significant increase in WT of 5 minutes (p=0.036) and LOS of 10 minutes (p=0.001), and an increase in LWBS from 7.2% to 8.1% (p=0.002) was seen after CPOE implementation. Admitted patients’ LOS increased by 63 minutes (p<0.001), the WT of CTAS 3 and 5 patients increased by 6 minutes (p=0.001) and 39 minutes (p=0.005), and LWBS proportion increased significantly for CTAS 3–5 patients, from 24.3% to 42.0% (p<0.001) for CTAS 5 patients specifically.
CPOE implementation detrimentally impacted all patient flow throughput measures that we examined. The most striking clinically relevant result was the increase in LOS of 63 minutes for admitted patients. This raises the question as to whether the potential detrimental effects to patient safety of CPOE implementation outweigh its benefits.
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