A prospective cluster-randomized trial to implement the Canadian CT Head Rule in emergency departments.
ABSTRACT: The Canadian CT Head Rule was developed to allow physicians to be more selective when ordering computed tomography (CT) imaging for patients with minor head injury. We sought to evaluate the effectiveness of implementing this validated decision rule at multiple emergency departments.We conducted a matched-pair cluster-randomized trial that compared the outcomes of 4531 patients with minor head injury during two 12-month periods (before and after) at hospital emergency departments in Canada, six of which were randomly allocated as intervention sites and six as control sites. At the intervention sites, active strategies, including education, changes to policy and real-time reminders on radiologic requisitions were used to implement the Canadian CT Head Rule. The main outcome measure was referral for CT scan of the head.Baseline characteristics of patients were similar when comparing control to intervention sites. At the intervention sites, the proportion of patients referred for CT imaging increased from the "before" period (62.8%) to the "after" period (76.2%) (difference +13.3%, 95% CI 9.7%-17.0%). At the control sites, the proportion of CT imaging usage also increased, from 67.5% to 74.1% (difference +6.7%, 95% CI 2.6%-10.8%). The change in mean imaging rates from the "before" period to the "after" period for intervention versus control hospitals was not significant (p = 0.16). There were no missed brain injuries or adverse outcomes.Our knowledge-translation-based trial of the Canadian CT Head Rule did not reduce rates of CT imaging in Canadian emergency departments. Future studies should identify strategies to deal with barriers to implementation of this decision rule and explore more effective approaches to knowledge translation. (ClinicalTrials.gov trial register no. NCT00993252).
Project description:The Canadian CT Head Rule was prospectively derived and validated to assist clinicians with diagnostic decision-making regarding the use of computed tomography (CT) in adult patients with minor head injury. A recent intervention trial failed to demonstrate a decrease in the rate of head CTs following implementation of the rule in Canadian emergency departments. Yet, the same intervention, which included a one-hour educational session and reminders at the point of requisition, was successful in reducing cervical spine imaging rates in the same emergency departments. The reason for the varied effect of the intervention across these two behaviours is unclear. There is an increasing appreciation for the use of theory to conduct process evaluations to better understand how strategies are linked with outcomes in implementation trials. The Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) has been used to explore health professional behaviour and to design behaviour change interventions but, to date, has not been used to guide a theory-based process evaluation. In this proof of concept study, we explored whether the TDF could be used to guide a retrospective process evaluation to better understand emergency physicians' responses to the interventions employed in the Canadian CT Head Rule trial.A semi-structured interview guide, based on the 12 domains from the TDF, was used to conduct telephone interviews with project leads and physician participants from the intervention sites in the Canadian CT Head Rule trial. Two reviewers independently coded the anonymised interview transcripts using the TDF as a coding framework. Relevant domains were identified by: the presence of conflicting beliefs within a domain; the frequency of beliefs; and the likely strength of the impact of a belief on the behaviour.Eight physicians from four of the intervention sites in the Canadian CT Head Rule trial participated in the interviews. Barriers likely to assist with understanding physicians' responses to the intervention in the trial were identified in six of the theoretical domains: beliefs about consequences; beliefs about capabilities; behavioural regulation; memory, attention and decision processes; environmental context and resources; and social influences. Despite knowledge that the Canadian CT Head Rule was highly sensitive and reliable for identifying clinically important brain injuries and strong beliefs about the benefits for using the rule, a number of barriers were identified that may have prevented physicians from consistently applying the rule.This proof of concept study demonstrates the use of the TDF as a guiding framework to design a retrospective theory-based process evaluation. There is a need for further development and testing of methods for using the TDF to guide theory-based process evaluations running alongside behaviour change intervention trials.
Project description:To evaluate the effectiveness of an active strategy to implement the validated Canadian C-Spine Rule into multiple emergency departments.Matched pair cluster randomised trial.University and community emergency departments in Canada. Participants 11 824 alert and stable adults presenting with blunt trauma to the head or neck at one of 12 hospitals.Six hospitals were randomly allocated to the intervention and six to the control. At the intervention sites, active strategies were used to implement the Canadian C-Spine Rule, including education, policy, and real time reminders on radiology requisitions. No specific intervention was introduced to alter the behaviour of doctors requesting cervical spine imaging at the control sites.Diagnostic imaging rate of the cervical spine during two 12 month before and after periods.Patients were balanced between control and intervention sites. From the before to the after periods, the intervention group showed a relative reduction in cervical spine imaging of 12.8% (95% confidence interval 9% to 16%; 61.7% v 53.3%; P=0.01) and the control group a relative increase of 12.5% (7% to 18%; 52.8% v 58.9%; P=0.03). These changes were significant when both groups were compared (P<0.001). No fractures were missed and no adverse outcomes occurred.Implementation of the Canadian C-Spine Rule led to a significant decrease in imaging without injuries being missed or patient morbidity. Final imaging rates were much lower at intervention sites than at most US hospitals. Widespread implementation of this rule could lead to reduced healthcare costs and more efficient patient flow in busy emergency departments worldwide.Clinical trials NCT00290875.
Project description:STUDY OBJECTIVE:Approximately 1 in 3 computed tomography (CT) scans performed for head injury may be avoidable. We evaluate the association of implementation of the Canadian CT Head Rule on head CT imaging in community emergency departments (EDs). METHODS:We conducted an interrupted time-series analysis of encounters from January 2014 to December 2015 in 13 Southern California EDs. Adult health plan members with a trauma diagnosis and Glasgow Coma Scale score at ED triage were included. A multicomponent intervention included clinical leadership endorsement, physician education, and integrated clinical decision support. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients receiving a head CT. The unit of analysis was ED encounter, and we compared CT use pre- and postintervention with generalized estimating equations segmented logistic regression, with physician as a clustering variable. Secondary analysis described the yield of identified head injuries pre- and postintervention. RESULTS:Included were 44,947 encounters (28,751 preintervention and 16,196 postintervention), resulting in 14,633 (32.6%) head CTs (9,758 preintervention and 4,875 postintervention), with an absolute 5.3% (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.5% to 8.1%) reduction in CT use postintervention. Adjusted pre-post comparison showed a trend in decreasing odds of imaging (odds ratio 0.98; 95% CI 0.96 to 0.99). All but one ED reduced CTs postintervention (0.3% to 8.7%, one ED 0.3% increase), but no interaction between the intervention and study site over time existed (P=.34). After the intervention, diagnostic yield of CT-identified intracranial injuries increased by 2.3% (95% CI 1.5% to 3.1%). CONCLUSION:A multicomponent implementation of the Canadian CT Head Rule was associated with a modest reduction in CT use and an increased diagnostic yield of head CTs for adult trauma encounters in community EDs.
Project description:Physicians in Canadian emergency departments (EDs) annually treat 185,000 alert and stable trauma victims who are at risk for cervical spine (C-spine) injury. However, only 0.9% of these patients have suffered a cervical spine fracture. Current use of radiography is not efficient. The Canadian C-Spine Rule is designed to allow physicians to be more selective and accurate in ordering C-spine radiography, and to rapidly clear the C-spine without the need for radiography in many patients. The goal of this phase III study is to evaluate the effectiveness of an active strategy to implement the Canadian C-Spine Rule into physician practice. Specific objectives are to: 1) determine clinical impact, 2) determine sustainability, 3) evaluate performance, and 4) conduct an economic evaluation.We propose a matched-pair cluster design study that compares outcomes during three consecutive 12-months "before," "after," and "decay" periods at six pairs of "intervention" and "control" sites. These 12 hospital ED sites will be stratified as "teaching" or "community" hospitals, matched according to baseline C-spine radiography ordering rates, and then allocated within each pair to either intervention or control groups. During the "after" period at the intervention sites, simple and inexpensive strategies will be employed to actively implement the Canadian C-Spine Rule. The following outcomes will be assessed: 1) measures of clinical impact, 2) performance of the Canadian C-Spine Rule, and 3) economic measures. During the 12-month "decay" period, implementation strategies will continue, allowing us to evaluate the sustainability of the effect. We estimate a sample size of 4,800 patients in each period in order to have adequate power to evaluate the main outcomes.Phase I successfully derived the Canadian C-Spine Rule and phase II confirmed the accuracy and safety of the rule, hence, the potential for physicians to improve care. What remains unknown is the actual change in clinical behaviors that can be affected by implementation of the Canadian C-Spine Rule, and whether implementation can be achieved with simple and inexpensive measures. We believe that the Canadian C-Spine Rule has the potential to significantly reduce health care costs and improve the efficiency of patient flow in busy Canadian EDs.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The Canadian Computed Tomography (CT) Head Rule, a clinical decision rule designed to safely reduce imaging in minor head injury, has been rigorously validated and implemented, and yet expected decreases in CT were unsuccessful. Recent work has identified empathic care as a key component in decreasing CT overuse. Health information technology can hinder the clinician-patient relationship. Patient-centered decision tools to support the clinician-patient relationship are needed to promote evidence-based decisions. OBJECTIVE:Our objective is to formatively evaluate an electronic tool that not only helps clinicians at the bedside to determine the need for CT use based on the Canadian CT Head Rule but also promotes evidence-based conversations between patients and clinicians regarding patient-specific risk and patients' specific concerns. METHODS:User-centered design with practice-based and participatory decision aid development was used to design, develop, and evaluate patient-centered decision support regarding CT use in minor head injury in the emergency department. User experience and user interface (UX/UI) development involved successive iterations with incremental refinement in 4 phases: (1) initial prototype development, (2) usability assessment, (3) field testing, and (4) beta testing. This qualitative approach involved input from patients, emergency care clinicians, health services researchers, designers, and clinical informaticists at every stage. RESULTS:The Concussion or Brain Bleed app is the product of 16 successive iterative revisions in accordance with UX/UI industry design standards. This useful and usable final product integrates clinical decision support with a patient decision aid. It promotes shared use by emergency clinicians and patients at the point of care within the emergency department context. This tablet computer app facilitates evidence-based conversations regarding CT in minor head injury. It is adaptable to individual clinician practice styles. The resultant tool includes a patient injury evaluator based on the Canadian CT Head Rule and provides patient specific risks using pictographs with natural frequencies and cues for discussion about patient concerns. CONCLUSIONS:This tool was designed to align evidence-based practices about CT in minor head injury patients. It establishes trust, empowers active participation, and addresses patient concerns and uncertainty about their condition. We hypothesize that, when implemented, the Concussion or Brain Bleed app will support-not hinder-the clinician-patient relationship, safely reduce CT use, and improve the patient experience of care.
Project description:For children who present to emergency departments (EDs) due to blunt head trauma, ED clinicians must decide who requires computed tomography (CT) scanning to evaluate for traumatic brain injury (TBI). The Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) derived and validated two age-based prediction rules to identify children at very low risk of clinically-important traumatic brain injuries (ciTBIs) who do not typically require CT scans. In this case report, we describe the strategy used to implement the PECARN TBI prediction rules via electronic health record (EHR) clinical decision support (CDS) as the intervention in a multicenter clinical trial.Thirteen EDs participated in this trial. The 10 sites receiving the CDS intervention used the Epic(®) EHR. All sites implementing EHR-based CDS built the rules by using the vendor's CDS engine. Based on a sociotechnical analysis, we designed the CDS so that recommendations could be displayed immediately after any provider entered prediction rule data. One central site developed and tested the intervention package to be exported to other sites. The intervention package included a clinical trial alert, an electronic data collection form, the CDS rules and the format for recommendations.The original PECARN head trauma prediction rules were derived from physician documentation while this pragmatic trial led each site to customize their workflows and allow multiple different providers to complete the head trauma assessments. These differences in workflows led to varying completion rates across sites as well as differences in the types of providers completing the electronic data form. Site variation in internal change management processes made it challenging to maintain the same rigor across all sites. This led to downstream effects when data reports were developed.The process of a centralized build and export of a CDS system in one commercial EHR system successfully supported a multicenter clinical trial.
Project description:OBJECTIVES: The Canadian C-Spine Rule for imaging of the cervical spine was developed for use by physicians. We believe that nurses in the emergency department could use this rule to clinically clear the cervical spine. We prospectively evaluated the accuracy, reliability and acceptability of the Canadian C-Spine Rule when used by nurses. METHODS: We conducted this three-year prospective cohort study in six Canadian emergency departments. The study involved adult trauma patients who were alert and whose condition was stable. We provided two hours of training to 191 triage nurses. The nurses then assessed patients using the Canadian C-Spine Rule, including determination of neck tenderness and range of motion, reapplied immobilization and completed a data form. RESULTS: Of the 3633 study patients, 42 (1.2%) had clinically important injuries of the cervical spine. The kappa value for interobserver assessments of 498 patients with the Canadian C-Spine Rule was 0.78. We calculated sensitivity of 100.0% (95% confidence interval [CI] 91.0%-100.0%) and specificity of 43.4% (95% CI 42.0%-45.0%) for the Canadian C-Spine Rule as interpreted by the investigators. The nurses classified patients with a sensitivity of 90.2% (95% CI 76.0%-95.0%) and a specificity of 43.9% (95% CI 42.0%-46.0%). Early in the study, nurses failed to identify four cases of injury, despite the presence of clear high-risk factors. None of these patients suffered sequelae, and after retraining there were no further missed cases. We estimated that for 40.7% of patients, the cervical spine could be cleared clinically by nurses. Nurses reported discomfort in applying the Canadian C-Spine Rule in only 4.8% of cases. CONCLUSION: Use of the Canadian C-Spine Rule by nurses was accurate, reliable and clinically acceptable. Widespread implementation by nurses throughout Canada and elsewhere would diminish patient discomfort and improve patient flow in overcrowded emergency departments.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To externally validate four commonly used rules in computed tomography (CT) for minor head injury. DESIGN:Prospective, multicentre cohort study. SETTING:Three university and six non-university hospitals in the Netherlands. PARTICIPANTS:Consecutive adult patients aged 16 years and over who presented with minor head injury at the emergency department with a Glasgow coma scale score of 13-15 between March 2015 and December 2016. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:The primary outcome was any intracranial traumatic finding on CT; the secondary outcome was a potential neurosurgical lesion on CT, which was defined as an intracranial traumatic finding on CT that could lead to a neurosurgical intervention or death. The sensitivity, specificity, and clinical usefulness (defined as net proportional benefit, a weighted sum of true positive classifications) of the four CT decision rules. The rules included the CT in head injury patients (CHIP) rule, New Orleans criteria (NOC), Canadian CT head rule (CCHR), and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline for head injury. RESULTS:For the primary analysis, only six centres that included patients with and without CT were selected. Of 4557 eligible patients who presented with minor head injury, 3742 (82%) received a CT scan; 384 (8%) had a intracranial traumatic finding on CT, and 74 (2%) had a potential neurosurgical lesion. The sensitivity for any intracranial traumatic finding on CT ranged from 73% (NICE) to 99% (NOC); specificity ranged from 4% (NOC) to 61% (NICE). Sensitivity for a potential neurosurgical lesion ranged between 85% (NICE) and 100% (NOC); specificity from 4% (NOC) to 59% (NICE). Clinical usefulness depended on thresholds for performing CT scanning: the NOC rule was preferable at a low threshold, the NICE rule was preferable at a higher threshold, whereas the CHIP rule was preferable for an intermediate threshold. CONCLUSIONS:Application of the CHIP, NOC, CCHR, or NICE decision rules can lead to a wide variation in CT scanning among patients with minor head injury, resulting in many unnecessary CT scans and some missed intracranial traumatic findings. Until an existing decision rule has been updated, any of the four rules can be used for patients presenting minor head injuries at the emergency department. Use of the CHIP rule is recommended because it leads to a substantial reduction in CT scans while missing few potential neurosurgical lesions.
Project description:The Low Risk Ankle Rule is a validated clinical decision rule that has the potential to safely reduce radiography in children with acute ankle injuries. We performed a phased implementation of the Low Risk Ankle Rule and evaluated its effectiveness in reducing the frequency of radiography in children with ankle injuries.Six Canadian emergency departments participated in the study from Jan. 1, 2009, to Aug. 31, 2011. At the 3 intervention sites, there were 3 consecutive 26-week phases. In phase 1, no interventions were implemented. In phase 2, we activated strategies to implement the ankle rule, including physician education, reminders and a computerized decision support system. In phase 3, we included only the decision support system. No interventions were introduced at the 3 pair-matched control sites. We examined the management of ankle injuries among children aged 3-16 years. The primary outcome was the proportion of children undergoing radiography.We enrolled 2151 children with ankle injuries, 1055 at intervention and 1096 at control hospitals. During phase 1, the baseline frequency of pediatric ankle radiography at intervention and control sites was 96.5% and 90.2%, respectively. During phase 2, the frequency of ankle radiography decreased significantly at intervention sites relative to control sites (between-group difference -21.9% [95% confidence interval [CI] -28.6% to -15.2%]), without significant differences in patient or physician satisfaction. All effects were sustained in phase 3. The sensitivity of the Low Risk Ankle Rule during implementation was 100% (95% CI 85.4% to 100%), and the specificity was 53.1% (95% CI 48.1% to 58.1%).Implementation of the Low Risk Ankle Rule in several different emergency department settings reduced the rate of pediatric ankle radiography significantly and safely, without an accompanying change in physician or patient satisfaction.ClinicalTrials.gov, no. NCT00785876.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The frequency of head computed tomography (CT) imaging for mild head trauma patients has raised safety and cost concerns. Validated clinical decision rules exist in the published literature and on-line sources to guide medical image ordering but are often not used by emergency department (ED) clinicians. Using simulation, we explored whether the presentation of a clinical decision rule (i.e. Canadian CT Head Rule - CCHR), findings from malpractice cases related to clinicians not ordering CT imaging in mild head trauma cases, and estimated patient out-of-pocket cost might influence clinician brain CT ordering. Understanding what type and how information may influence clinical decision making in the ordering advanced medical imaging is important in shaping the optimal design and implementation of related clinical decision support systems. METHODS:Multi-center, double-blinded simulation-based randomized controlled trial. Following standardized clinical vignette presentation, clinicians made an initial imaging decision for the patient. This was followed by additional information on decision support rules, malpractice outcome review, and patient cost; each with opportunity to modify their initial order. The malpractice and cost information differed by assigned group to test the any temporal relationship. The simulation closed with a second vignette and an imaging decision. RESULTS:One hundred sixteen of the 167 participants (66.9%) initially ordered a brain CT scan. After CCHR presentation, the number of clinicians ordering a CT dropped to 76 (45.8%), representing a 21.1% reduction in CT ordering (P?=?0.002). This reduction in CT ordering was maintained, in comparison to initial imaging orders, when presented with malpractice review information (p?=?0.002) and patient cost information (p?=?0.002). About 57% of clinicians changed their order during study, while 43% never modified their imaging order. CONCLUSION:This study suggests that ED clinician brain CT imaging decisions may be influenced by clinical decision support rules, patient out-of-pocket cost information and findings from malpractice case review. TRIAL REGISTRATION:NCT03449862 , February 27, 2018, Retrospectively registered.