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Fee-for-service payment may motivate physicians to see more patients and achieve higher productivity. In 2015, emergency physicians at one Vancouver hospital switched to fee-for-service payment, while those at a sister hospital remained on contract, creating a natural experiment where the compensation method changed, but other factors remained constant. Our hypothesis was that fee-for-service payment would increase physician efficiency and reduce patient wait times.
This interrupted time series with concurrent control analysed emergency department (ED) performance during a 42-week period, encompassing the intervention (fee for service). Data were aggregated by week and plotted in a time series fashion. We adjusted for autocorrelation and developed general linear regression models to assess level and trend changes. Our primary outcome was the wait time to physician.
Data from 142,361 ED visits were analysed. Baseline wait times rose at both sites during the pre-intervention phase. Immediately post-intervention, the median wait time increased by 2.4 minutes at the control site and fell by 7.2 minutes at the intervention site (difference=9.6 minutes; 95% confidence interval, 2.9-16.4; p=0.007). The wait time trend (slope) subsequently deteriorated by 0.5 minutes per week at the intervention site relative to the expected counterfactual (p for the trend difference=0.07). By the end of the study, cross-site differences had not changed significantly from baseline.
Fee-for-service payment was associated with a 9.6-minute (24%) reduction in wait time, compatible with an extrinsic motivational effect; however, this was not sustained, and the intervention had no impact on other operational parameters studied. Physician compensation is an important policy issue but may not be a primary determinant of ED operational efficiency.
Although procedural sedation for cardioversion is a common event in emergency departments (EDs), there is limited evidence surrounding medication choices. We sought to evaluate geographic and temporal variation in sedative choice at multiple Canadian sites, and to estimate the risk of adverse events due to sedative choice.
This is a secondary analysis of one health records review, the Recent Onset Atrial Fibrillation or Flutter-0 (RAFF-0 [n=420, 2008]) and one prospective cohort study, the Recent Onset Atrial Fibrillation or Flutter-1 (RAFF-1 [n=565, 2010 – 2012]) at eight and six Canadian EDs, respectively. Sedative choices within and among EDs were quantified, and the risk of adverse events was examined with adjusted and unadjusted comparisons of sedative regimes.
In RAFF-0 and RAFF-1, the combination of propofol and fentanyl was most popular (63.8% and 52.7%) followed by propofol alone (27.9% and 37.3%). There were substantially more adverse events in the RAFF-0 data set (13.5%) versus RAFF-1 (3.3%). In both data sets, the combination of propofol/fentanyl was not associated with increased adverse event risk compared to propofol alone.
There is marked variability in procedural sedation medication choice for a direct current cardioversion in Canadian EDs, with increased use of propofol alone as a sedation agent over time. The risk of adverse events from procedural sedation during cardioversion is low but not insignificant. We did not identify an increased risk of adverse events with the addition of fentanyl as an adjunctive analgesic to propofol.
It is believed that when patients present to the emergency department (ED) with recent-onset atrial fibrillation or flutter (RAFF), controlling the ventricular rate before cardioversion improves the success rate. We evaluated the influence of rate control medication and other variables on the success of cardioversion.
This secondary analysis of a medical records review comprised 1,068 patients with RAFF who presented to eight Canadian EDs over 12 months. Univariate analysis was performed to find associations between predictors of conversion to sinus rhythm including use of rate control, rhythm control, and other variables. Predictive variables were incorporated into the multivariate model to calculate adjusted odds ratios (ORs) associated with successful cardioversion.
A total of 634 patients underwent attempted cardioversion: 428 electrical, 354 chemical, and 148 both. Adjusted ORs for factors associated with successful electrical cardioversion were use of rate control medication, 0.39 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.21-0.74); rhythm control medication, 0.28 (95% CI 0.15-0.53); and CHADS2 score > 0, 0.43 (95% CI 0.15-0.83). ORs for factors associated with successful chemical cardioversion were use of rate control medication, 1.29 (95% CI 0.82-2.03); female sex, 2.37 (95% CI 1.50-3.72); and use of procainamide, 2.32 (95% CI 1.43-3.74).
We demonstrated reduced successful electrical cardioversion of RAFF when patients were pretreated with either rate or rhythm control medication. Although rate control medication was not associated with increased success of chemical cardioversion, use of procainamide was. Slowing the ventricular rate prior to cardioversion should be avoided.
Our primary objective was to determine the effectiveness of 3 immobilization methods (circumferential casting [CC], volar–dorsal splinting [VDS] and modified sugar-tong [MST] splinting) in maintaining the position of displaced distal radius fractures after successful closed reduction. Our secondary objective was to assess long-term functional outcomes associated with immobilization with fibreglass splinting versus standard CC in patients maintaining initial nonoperative reductions.
We conducted a prospective randomized single-blind controlled trial in patients over 18 years of age who presented to the emergency department with a displaced fracture of the distal radius requiring closed reduction. The primary outcome was loss of reduction (defined as radiologic slippage or the need for surgical fixation during the 3–4 week primary immobilization period after initial successful reduction). Secondary outcomes included DASH (disabilities of the arm, shoulder and hand) score, return to work, activities of daily living, wrist pain, range of motion and grip strength assessed at 8 weeks and 6 months.
Thirty participants were randomly assigned to receive MST splinting, 31 to receive VDS and 40 to receive CC. Baseline characteristics were similar among groups. Radiographic loss of reduction occurred in 16% (95% confidence interval [CI] 3.1%–28.9%) of participants in the VDS group, 20% (95% CI 7.6%–32.4%) in the CC group and 30% (95% CI 13.6°%–46.4°%) in the MST splinting group (p = 0.17). Based on multivariate analysis of variance, functional outcomes at 8 weeks were similar among groups (p = 0.89). DASH scores at 8 weeks and 6 months were similar among groups, based on 1-way analysis of variance (p > 0.25).
Rates of loss in anatomic position were not statistically significant among the 3 types of dressings used. However, there was a clinically important trend of increased loss of reduction with the use of MST splinting. Functional outcomes at 8 weeks and 6 months were not significantly different between CC, VDS and MDS splinting. Ease of application and familiarity with use should guide clinical decisions when choosing a dressing type for displaced Colles fractures.
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