Availability of ambulance patient care reports in the emergency department.
ABSTRACT: Clinical handovers of patient care among healthcare professionals is vulnerable to the loss of important clinical information. A verbal report is typically provided by paramedics and documented by emergency department (ED) triage nurses. Paramedics subsequently complete a patient care report which is submitted electronically. This emergency medical system (EMS) patient care report often contains details of paramedic assessment and management that is not all captured in the nursing triage note. EMS patient care reports are often unavailable for review by emergency physicians and nurses. Two processes occur in the distribution of EMS patient care reports. The first is an external process to the ED that is influenced by the prehospital emergency medical system and results in the report being faxed to the ED. The second process is internal to the ED that requires clerical staff to distribute the fax report to accompany patient charts. A baseline audit measured the percentage of EMS patient care reports that were available to emergency physicians at the time of initial patient assessments and showed a wide variation in the availability of EMS reports. Also measured were the time intervals from patient transfer from EMS to ED stretcher until the EMS report was received by fax (external process measure) and the time from receiving the EMS fax report until distribution to patient chart (internal process measure). These baseline measures showed a wide variation in the time it takes to receive the EMS reports by fax and to distribute reports. Improvement strategies consisted of: 1. Educating ED clerical staff about the importance of EMS reports 2. Implementing a new process to minimize ED clerical staff handling of EMS reports for nonactive ED patients 3. Elimination of the automatic retrieval of old hospital charts and their distribution for ED patients 4. Introduction of an electronic dashboard for patients arriving by ambulance to facilitate more efficient distribution of EMS reports. Implementation of change strategies did not result in a significant improvement in the percentage of EMS reports available to emergency physicians at the time of initial patient assessment. However, tracking both external and internal processes that influence EMS report availability showed the internal process time from fax report receipt to distribution significantly improved. This improvement reflected the change strategies that were all directed at improving the internal process. EMS patient care reports are more efficiently processed and distributed in the ED due to change strategies implemented that targeted the ED's internal process of EMS report distribution. The external process responsible for transmitting EMS reports to the ED is the limiting factor that prevents consistent timely access of EMS reports by emergency physicians and will require dedicated improvement strategies.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Ensure early identification and timely management of patient deterioration as essential components of safe effective healthcare. Prompted by analyses of incident reports and deterioration events, a multicomponent organisational rescue from danger system was redesigned to decrease unexpected inpatient deterioration. DESIGN:Quality improvement before-after unblinded trial. SETTING:430-bed Canadian community teaching hospital. PARTICIPANTS:All admitted adult medical-surgical patients in a before-after 12-month interventional study. INTERVENTION:Locally validated checklist (Modified Early Warning Score+urinary?catheter in situ+nurse?concern) with an intentional pause and explicit management options was deployed as a modification of an existing ward transfer of accountability fax report in the emergency department (ED). RESULTS:Following deployment of Emergency Room Safer Transfer of Patients (ER-STOP), the risk of an unexpected CCRT (critical care response team) response within 24?hours of admission from ED to adult medical and surgical wards was significantly decreased (OR 4.1, 95%?CI 2.17 to 7.77). Mean (±SD) ED wait times (5.66±1.54vs 5.74±1.04?hours, p=0.30), intensive care unit admission rate (3.84%, n=233vs 4.61%, n=278, p=0.06) and cardiac care unit admission rate (9.51%, n=577vs 9.60%, n=579, p=0.198) were unchanged. CONCLUSIONS:ER-STOP improvement was out of proportion to the predictive value of the checklist component suggesting that effectiveness of this low-cost sustainable tool was related to increased situational awareness, empowering a culture of patient safety and repurposing of an adjacent ED medical short-stay unit use. Local adaptation within existing processes is essential to successful safety outcomes.
Project description:The decision over whether to convey after emergency ambulance attendance plays a vital role in preventing avoidable admissions to a hospital's emergency department (ED). This is especially important with the elderly, for whom the likelihood and frequency of adverse events are greatest.To provide a structured overview of factors influencing the conveyance decision of elderly people to the ED after emergency ambulance attendance, and the outcomes of these decisions.A mixed studies review of empirical studies was performed based on systematic searches, without date restrictions, in PubMed, CINAHL and Embase (April 2018). Twenty-nine studies were included.Only studies with evidence gathered after an emergency medical service (EMS) response in a prehospital setting that focused on factors that influence the decision whether to convey an elderly patient were included.Prehospital, EMS setting; participants to include EMS staff and/or elderly patients after emergency ambulance attendance.The Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool was used in appraising the included articles. Data were assessed using a 'best fit' framework synthesis approach.ED referral by EMS staff is determined by many factors, and not only the acuteness of the medical emergency. Factors that increase the likelihood of non-conveyance are: non-conveyance guidelines, use of feedback loop, the experience, confidence, educational background and composition (male-female) of the EMS staff attending and consulting a physician, EMS colleague or other healthcare provider. Factors that boost the likelihood of conveyance are: being held liable, a lack of organisational support, of confidence and/or of baseline health information, and situational circumstances. Findings are presented in an overarching framework that includes the impact of these factors on the decision's outcomes.Many non-medical factors influence the ED conveyance decision after emergency ambulance attendance, and this makes it a complex issue to manage.
Project description:Introduction:Early recognition and pre-notification by emergency medical services (EMS) improves the timeliness of emergency department (ED) stroke care; however, little is known regarding the effects on care should EMS providers fail to pre-notify. We sought to determine if potential stroke patients transported by EMS, but for whom EMS did not provide pre-notification, suffer delays in ED door-to-stroke-team activation (DTA) as compared to the other available cohort of patients for whom the ED is not pre-notified-those arriving by private vehicle. Methods:We queried our prospective stroke registry to identify consecutive stroke team activation patients over 12 months and retrospectively reviewed the electronic health record for each patient to validate registry data and abstract other clinical and operational data. We compared patients arriving by private vehicle to those arriving by EMS without pre-notification, and we employed a multivariable, penalized regression model to assess the probability of meeting the national DTA goal of ≤15 minutes, controlling for a variety of clinical factors. Results:Our inclusion criteria were met by 200 patients. Overall performance of the regression model was excellent (area under the curve 0.929). Arrival via EMS without pre-notification, compared to arrival by private vehicle, was associated with an adjusted risk ratio of 0.55 (95% confidence interval, 0.27-0.96) for achieving DTA ≤ 15 minutes. Conclusion:Our single-center data demonstrate that potential stroke patients arriving via EMS without pre-notification are less likely to meet the national DTA goal than patients arriving via other means. These data suggest a negative, unintended consequence of otherwise highly successful EMS efforts to improve stroke care, the root of which may be ED staff over-reliance on EMS for stroke recognition.
Project description:Emergency medical services (EMS) personnel frequently use the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) to assess injured and critically ill patients. This study assesses the accuracy of EMS providers' GCS scoring, as well as the improvement in GCS score assessment with the use of a scoring aid.This randomized, controlled study was conducted in the emergency department (ED) of an urban academic trauma center. Emergency medical technicians or paramedics who transported a patient to the ED were randomly assigned one of 9 written scenarios, either with or without a GCS scoring aid. Scenarios were created by consensus of expert attending emergency medicine, EMS, and neurocritical care physicians, with universal consensus agreement on GCS scores. ?(2) And Student's t tests were used to compare groups.Of 180 participants, 178 completed the study. Overall, 73 of 178 participants (41%) gave a GCS score that matched the expert consensus score. GCS score was correct in 22 of 88 (25%) cases without the scoring aid. GCS was correct in 51 of 90 (57%) cases with the scoring aid. Most (69%) of the total GCS scores fell within 1 point of the expert consensus GCS score. Differences in accuracy were most pronounced in scenarios with a correct GCS score of 12 or below. Subcomponent accuracy was eye 62%, verbal 70%, and motor 51%.In this study, 60% of EMS participants provided inaccurate GCS score estimates. Use of a GCS scoring aid improved accuracy of EMS GCS score assessments.
Project description:<h4>Importance</h4>Evidence from national studies indicates systematic differences in hospitals in which racial/ethnic minorities receive care, with most care obtained in a small proportion of hospitals. Little is known about the source of these differences.<h4>Objectives</h4>To examine the patterns of emergency department (ED) destination of emergency medical services (EMS) transport according to patient race/ethnicity, and to compare the patterns between those transported by EMS and those who did not use EMS.<h4>Design, setting, and participants</h4>This cohort study of US EMS and EDs used Medicare claims data from January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2012. Enrollees aged 66 years or older with continuous fee-for-service Medicare coverage (N?=?864?750) were selected for the sample. Zip codes with a sizable count (>10) of Hispanic, non-Hispanic black, and non-Hispanic white enrollees were used for comparison of EMS use across racial/ethnic subgroups. Data on all ED visits, with and without EMS use, were obtained. Data analysis was performed from December 18, 2018, to July 7, 2019.<h4>Main outcomes and measures</h4>The main outcome measure was whether an EMS transport destination was the most frequent ED destination among white patients (reference ED). The secondary outcomes were (1) whether the ED destination was a safety-net hospital and (2) the distance of EMS transport from the ED destination.<h4>Results</h4>The study cohort comprised 864?750 Medicare enrollees from 4175 selected zip codes who had 458?701 ED visits using EMS transport. Of these EMS-transported enrollees, 26.1% (127 555) were younger than 75 years, and most were women (302?430 [66.8%]). Overall, the proportion of white patients transported to the reference ED was 61.3% (95% CI, 61.0% to 61.7%); this rate was lower among black enrollees (difference of -5.3%; 95% CI, -6.0% to -4.6%) and Hispanic enrollees (difference of -2.5%; 95% CI, -3.2% to -1.7%). A similar pattern was found among patients with high-risk acute conditions; the proportion transported to the reference ED was 61.5% (95% CI, 60.7% to 62.2%) among white enrollees, whereas this proportion was lower among black enrollees (difference of -6.7%; 95% CI, -8.3% to -5.0%) and Hispanic enrollees (difference of -2.6%; 95% CI, -4.5% to -0.7%). In major US cities, a larger black-white discordance in ED destination was observed (-9.3%; 95% CI, -10.9% to -7.7%). Black and Hispanic patients were more likely to be transported to a safety-net ED compared with their white counterparts; the proportion transported to a safety-net ED among white enrollees (18.5%; 95% CI, 18.1% to 18.7%) was lower compared with that among black enrollees (difference of 2.7%; 95% CI, 2.2% to 3.2%) and Hispanic enrollees (difference of 1.9%; 95% CI, 1.3% to 2.4%). Concordance rates of non-EMS-transported ED visits were statistically significantly lower than for EMS-transported ED visits; the concordance rate among white enrollees of 52.9% (95% CI, 52.1% to 53.6%) was higher compared with that among black enrollees (difference of -4.8%; 95% CI, -6.4% to -3.3%) and Hispanic enrollees (difference of -3.0%; 95% CI, -4.7% to -1.3%).<h4>Conclusions and relevance</h4>This study found race/ethnicity variation in ED destination for patients using EMS transport, with black and Hispanic patients more likely to be transported to a safety-net hospital ED compared with white patients living in the same zip code.
Project description:To determine whether utilization of emergency medical service (EMS) can increase use and expedite delivery of the thrombolytic therapy in acute ischemic stroke patients.We analyzed consecutive patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with an ischemic stroke within 72 hours of symptom onset from a prospective stroke registry. Variables associated with early ED arrival (within 3 hours of stroke onset) and administration of intravenous thrombolytic therapy were analyzed.From January 1, 2010 to July 31, 2011, there were 1081 patients (62.3% men, age 69.6 ± 13 years) included in this study. Among them, 289 (26.7%) arrived in the ED within 3 hours, and 88 (8.1%) received thrombolytic therapy. Patients who arrived at the ED by EMS (n = 279, 25.8%) were independently associated with earlier ED arrival (adjusted odds ratio = 3.68, 95% confidence interval = 2.54-5.33), and higher chance of receiving thrombolytic therapy (adjusted odds ratio = 3.89, 95% confidence interval = 1.86-8.17). Furthermore, utilization of EMS significantly decreased onset-to-needle time by 26 minutes in patients receiving thrombolytic therapy.Utilization of EMS can not only help acute ischemic stroke patients in early presentation to ED, but also effectively facilitate thrombolytic therapy and shorten the onset-to-needle time.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:To characterize the proportion of older adult emergency department (ED) patients with depression or cognitive impairment. To compare the prevalences of depression or cognitive impairment among ED patients arriving via emergency medical services (EMS) and those arriving via other modes. METHODS:Community-dwelling older adults (age ?60 years) presenting to an academic medical center ED were interviewed. Participants provided demographic and clinical information, and were evaluated for depression and cognitive impairment. Subjects arriving via EMS were compared with those arriving via other modes using the chi-square test, t-test, and the Wilcoxon rank sum test, where appropriate. RESULTS:Consent was obtained from 1,342 eligible older adults; 695 (52%) arrived via EMS. The median age for those arriving via EMS was 74 years (interquartile range 65, 82), 52% were female, and 81% were white. Fifteen percent of EMS patients had moderate or greater depression, as compared with 14% of patients arriving via other modes (p = 0.52). Thirteen percent of the EMS patients had cognitive impairment, as compared with 8% of those arriving via other modes (p < 0.01). The depressed EMS patients frequently reported a history of depression (47%) and taking antidepressants (51%). The cognitively impaired EMS patients infrequently reported a history of dementia (16%) and taking medications for dementia (14%). Conclusions. In this cohort of community-dwelling older adult ED patients, depression and cognitive impairment were common. As compared with ED patients arriving by other transport means, patients arriving via EMS had a similar prevalence of depression but an increased prevalence of cognitive impairment. Screening for depression and cognitive impairment by EMS providers may have value, but needs further investigation.
Project description:Objective:To assess whether electronic health information exchange (HIE) is associated with improved emergency department (ED) care processes and utilization through more timely clinician viewing of information from outside organizations. Materials and Methods:Our data included 2163 patients seen in the ED of a large academic medical center for whom clinicians requested and viewed outside information from February 14, 2014, to February 13, 2015. Outside information requests w.ere fulfilled via HIE (Epic's Care Everywhere) or fax/scan to the electronic health record (EHR). We used EHR audit data to capture the time between the information request and when a clinician accessed the data. We assessed whether the relationship between method of information return and ED outcomes (length of visit, odds of imaging [computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), radiographs] and hospitalization, and total charges) was mediated by request-to-access time, controlling for patient demographics, case mix, and acuity. Results:In multivariate analysis, there was no direct association between return of information via HIE vs fax/scan and ED outcomes. HIE was associated with faster outside information access (58.5?minutes on average), and faster access was associated with changes in ED care. For each 1-hour reduction in access time, visit length was 52.9?minutes shorter, the likelihood of imaging was lower (by 2.5, 1.6, and 2.4 percentage points for CT, MRI, and radiographs, respectively), the likelihood of admission was 2.4 percentage points lower, and average charges were $1187 lower ( P ???.001 for all). Conclusion:The relationship between HIE and improved care processes and reduced utilization in the ED is mediated by faster accessing of information from outside organizations.
Project description:We aimed to investigate the out-of-hospital mortality, and the actual prevalence of COVID-19 in children requiring paediatric emergency department (ED) care for infectious symptoms. There were four emergency medical services (EMS) responses concerning children (age 0–15 years) leading to death on-scene in 2?months during the pandemic, and eight during the previous 12 months in the Helsinki University Hospital area, although the number of EMS missions decreased by 18%. The prevalence of COVID-19 in children contacting a paediatric ED for any infectious symptoms during the epidemic peak was only 2.7%.
Project description:To assess the natural history of prehospital blood pressure (BP) during emergency medical services (EMS) transport of suspected stroke and determine whether prehospital BP differs among types of patients with suspected stroke (ischemic stroke, TIA, intracerebral hemorrhage [ICH], or stroke mimic).A retrospective, cross-sectional, observational analysis of a centralized EMS database containing electronic records of patients transported by EMS to the emergency department (ED) with suspected stroke during an 18-month period was conducted. Hospital charts and neuroimaging were utilized to determine the final diagnosis (ischemic stroke, TIA, ICH, or stroke mimic).A total of 960 patients were transported by EMS to ED with suspected stroke. Stroke was diagnosed in 544 patients (56.7%) (38.2% ischemic stroke, 12.2% TIA, 5.3% ICH) and 416 (43.2%) were considered mimics. Age-adjusted mean prehospital systolic BP (SBP) was higher in acute stroke patients (155.6 mm Hg; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 153.4-157.9 mm Hg) compared to mimics (146.1 mm Hg; 95% CI: 142.5-148.6 mm Hg; p < 0.001). Age-adjusted mean prehospital SBP was higher in ICH (172.3 mm Hg; 95% CI: 165.1-179.7 mm Hg) than in either ischemic stroke or TIA (154.7 mm Hg; 95% CI: 152.3-157.0 mm Hg; p < 0.001). Median (interquartile range) SBP drop from initial prehospital SBP to ED SBP was 4 mm Hg (-6 to 17 mm Hg). Mean prehospital SBP was strongly correlated with ED SBP (r = 0.82, p < 0.001).Prehospital SBP is higher in acute stroke relative to stroke mimics and highest in ICH. Given the stability of BP between initial EMS and ED measurements, it may be reasonable to test the feasibility and safety of prehospital antihypertensive therapy in patients with suspected acute stroke.