Thrombophilia testing in the inpatient setting: impact of an educational intervention.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Thrombophilia testing is frequently ordered in the inpatient setting despite its limited impact on clinical decision-making and unreliable results in the setting of acute thrombosis or ongoing anticoagulation. We sought to determine the effect of an educational intervention in reducing inappropriate thrombophilia testing for hospitalized patients. METHODS:During the 2014 academic year, we implemented an educational intervention with a phase implementation design for Internal Medicine interns at Stanford University Hospital. The educational session covering epidemiology, appropriate thrombophilia evaluation and clinical rationale behind these recommendations. Their ordering behavior was compared with a contemporaneous control (non-medicine and private services) and a historical control (interns from prior academic year). From the analyzed data, we determined the proportion of inappropriate thrombophilia testing of each group. Logistic generalized estimating equations were used to estimate odds ratios for inappropriate thrombophilia testing associated with the intervention. RESULTS:Of 2151 orders included, 934 were deemed inappropriate (43.4%). The two intervention groups placed 147 orders. A pooled analysis of ordering practices by intervention groups revealed a trend toward reduction of inappropriate ordering (p =?0.053). By the end of the study, the intervention groups had significantly lower rates of inappropriate testing compared to historical or contemporaneous controls. CONCLUSION:A brief educational intervention was associated with a trend toward reduction in inappropriate thrombophilia testing. These findings suggest that focused education on thrombophilia testing can positively impact inpatient ordering practices.
Project description:At New York Methodist Hospital (Brooklyn, NY), the pattern of ordering glucose testing was studied by a multidisciplinary committee because the medicine residents were placing inpatient chemstrip orders at their own discretion. It was found that chemstrip orders were being placed at inappropriate frequencies, and occasionally on inappropriate patients. The staff and residents were educated on daily rounds in order to achieve the goal of reducing unwarranted fingersticks, consequently increasing patient satisfaction and reducing wasted time, resources, and costs. From April 2014 through March 2015 there were 274,889 fingersticks in the inpatient setting and following the intervention the number of fingersticks had decreased to 238,187, representing a significant decrease.
Project description:Laboratory test overutilization increases health care costs, leads to unwarranted investigations, and may have a negative impact on health outcomes. The American Society of Clinical Pathology, in its Choosing Wisely Campaign, advocates that inflammation be investigated with C-reactive protein (CRP) instead of Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR). London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), a tertiary care hospital organization in Ontario, Canada, set a goal to reduce inappropriate ESR orders by 50%. After developing appropriateness criteria for ESR, we used a series of PDSA cycles to reduce inappropriate ESR ordering and analyzed our results with an interrupted time series design. Our intervention began with an educational bulletin and moved to city-wide implementation of computerized Clinical Decision Support (CDS). After implementation, ESR orders decreased by 40% from 386 orders per week to 241 orders per week. Our results are supported by previous literature on the effectiveness of CDS in reducing overutilization and suggest that provider habit is a significant contributor to inappropriate ordering.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Thrombophilia-screen tests are specialised haemostasis tests that are affected by numerous unique patient variables including the presence of acute thrombosis, the concomitant use of medication and patient demographics. Complete information on the request form is therefore crucial for the haematological pathologist to make patient-specific interpretation of patients' results. OBJECTIVES:To assess the completeness of thrombophilia-screen test request forms and determine the impact of provision of incomplete information, on the interpretive comments generated by reporting haematological pathologists. To assess the impact of an educational session given to clinicians on the importance of providing all the relevant information on the request forms. METHOD:Two retrospective audits, each covering 3 months, were performed to evaluate the completeness of demographic and clinical information on thrombophilia-screen request forms and its impact on the quality of the interpretive comments before and after an educational intervention. RESULTS:One hundred and seventy-one request forms were included in the first audit and 146 in the second audit. The first audit revealed that all 171 thrombophilia-screen request forms had complete patient demographic information but none had clinical information. Haematological pathologists only made generic comments which could not be applied to a specific patient. The second audit, conducted after a physician educational session, did not reveal any improvement in the clinical information provision by the test-ordering physicians. This was reportedly due to the lack of space on the request form. The interpretive comments therefore remained generic and not patient-specific. CONCLUSION:Physicians' failure to provide relevant clinical information made it impossible for pathologists to make patient-specific interpretation of the results. A single physician education session did not change the practice, reportedly due to the inappropriate design of the test request form. Further studies are required to investigate the impact of an improved request form and the planned electronic test requesting.
Project description:Ideally, thrombophilia testing should be tailored to the type of thrombotic event without the influence of anticoagulation therapy or acute phase effects which can give false positive results that may result in long term anticoagulation. However, thrombophilia testing is often performed routinely in unselected patients. We analyzed all consecutive thrombophilia testing orders during the months of October and November 2009 at an academic teaching institution. Information was extracted from electronic medical records for the following: indication, timing, comprehensiveness of tests, anticoagulation therapy at the time of testing, and confirmatory repeat testing, if any. Based on the findings of this analysis, we established local guidelines in May 2013 for appropriate thrombophilia testing, primarily to prevent testing during the acute thrombotic event or while the patient is on anticoagulation. We then evaluated ordering practices 22 months after guideline implementation. One hundred seventy-three patients were included in the study. Only 34% (58/173) had appropriate indications (unprovoked venous or arterial thrombosis or pregnancy losses). 51% (61/119) with an index clinical event were tested within one week of the event. Although 46% (79/173) were found to have abnormal results, only 46% of these had the abnormal tests repeated for confirmation with 54% potentially carrying a wrong diagnosis with long term anticoagulation. Twenty-two months after guideline implementation, there was an 84% reduction in ordered tests. Thus, this study revealed that a significant proportion of thrombophilia testing was inappropriately performed. We implemented local guidelines for thrombophilia testing for clinicians, resulting in a reduction in healthcare costs and improved patient care.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Improving handoff communications is a National Patient Safety Goal. Interns and residents are rarely taught how to safely handoff their patients. Our objective was to determine whether teaching safe handoff principles would improve handoff quality. METHODS: Our study was conducted on the inpatient services at 2 teaching hospitals. In this single-institution, randomized controlled trial, internal medicine interns (N = 44) and residents (N = 24) participated in a 45-minute educational session on safe handoff communication skills. Residents received additional education on effective feedback practices and were asked to provide each intern with structured feedback. Quality of interns' electronic and verbal handoffs was measured by using a Handoff Evaluation Tool created by the authors. The frequency of handoff communication failures was also assessed through semistructured phone interviews of postcall interns. RESULTS: Interns who received handoff education demonstrated superior verbal handoff skills than control interns (P < .001), while no difference was seen in electronic handoff skills. Communication failures related to code status (P < .001) and overnight tasks (P < .050) were less frequent in the intervention group. CONCLUSIONS: Interns' electronic handoff documentation skills did not improve with the intervention. This may reflect greater difficulty in changing physicians' electronic documentation habits.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Social comparison feedback is an increasingly popular strategy that uses performance report cards to modify physician behavior. Our objective was to test the effect of such feedback on the ordering of routine laboratory tests for hospitalized patients, a practice considered overused. METHODS:This was a single-blinded randomized controlled trial. Between January and June 2016, physicians on six general medicine teams at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania were cluster randomized with equal allocation to two arms: (1) those e-mailed a summary of their routine laboratory test ordering vs. the service average for the prior week, linked to a continuously updated personalized dashboard containing patient-level details, and snapshot of the dashboard and (2) those who did not receive the intervention. The primary outcome was the count of routine laboratory test orders placed by a physician per patient-day. We modeled the count of orders by each physician per patient-day after the intervention as a function of trial arm and the physician's order count before the intervention. The count outcome was modeled using negative binomial models with adjustment for clustering within teams. RESULTS:One hundred and fourteen interns and residents participated. We did not observe a statistically significant difference in adjusted reduction in routine laboratory ordering between the intervention and control physicians (physicians in the intervention group ordered 0.14 fewer tests per patient-day than physicians in the control group, 95% CI -?0.56 to 0.27, p?=?0.50). Physicians whose absolute ordering rate deviated from the peer rate by more than 1.0 laboratory test per patient-day reduced their laboratory ordering by 0.80 orders per patient-day (95% CI -?1.58 to -?0.02, p?=?0.04). CONCLUSIONS:Personalized social comparison feedback on routine laboratory ordering did not change targeted behavior among physicians, although there was a significant decrease in orders among participants who deviated more from the peer rate. TRIAL REGISTRATION:Clinicaltrials.gov registration: #NCT02330289.
Project description:Background:To reduce overutilization of laboratory testing many interventions have been tried, but selecting the most effective intervention for a given setting is challenging. To be sustainable, interventions need to align with healthcare providers' needs and daily practices. This study aimed to assess the extent of overutilization and the perspectives of healthcare providers, which may be used to guide the choice of intervention. Methods:The extent of inappropriate laboratory testing in internal medicine inpatients was evaluated using a database. Surveys and focus groups were used to investigate healthcare providers' perceptions on its causes and solutions. Results:On average, patients had 5.7 laboratory orders done during the first week of admission, whereas guidelines advise performing laboratory testing no more than twice per week. Repeat testing of normal test results occurred in up to 85% of patients. The frequency of laboratory testing was underestimated by survey responders, even though the majority of responders (78%) thought that laboratory tests are ordered too frequently. Residents were considered to be most responsible for laboratory test ordering.The primary causes of overutilization discussed were personal factors, such as a lack of awareness and knowledge, as well as feelings of insecurity. Regarding possible solutions, residents generally recommended educational interventions, whereas specialists tended to favour technical solutions such as lockouts. Conclusion:Inappropriate laboratory testing is common in internal medicine. The most important causes are a lack of awareness and knowledge, especially in residents. The intervention most favoured by residents is education, suggesting educational interventions may be most applicable.
Project description:Laboratory testing is an important clinical act with a valuable role in screening, diagnosis, management and monitoring of diseases or therapies. However, inappropriate laboratory test ordering is frequent, burdening health care spending and negatively influencing quality of care. Inappropriate tests may also result in false-positive results and potentially cause excessive downstream activities. Clinical decision support systems (CDSSs) have shown promising results to influence the test-ordering behaviour of physicians and to improve appropriateness. Order sets, a form of CDSS where a limited set of evidence-based tests are proposed for a series of indications, integrated in a computerised physician order entry (CPOE) have been shown to be effective in reducing the volume of ordered laboratory tests but convincing evidence that they influence appropriateness is lacking. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of order sets on the quality and quantity of laboratory test orders by physicians. We also aim to evaluate the effect of order sets on diagnostic error and explore the effect on downstream or cascade activities.We will conduct a cluster randomised controlled trial in Belgian primary care practices. The study is powered to measure two outcomes. We will primarily measure the influence of our CDSS on the appropriateness of laboratory test ordering. Additionally, we will also measure the influence on diagnostic error. We will also explore the effects of our intervention on cascade activities due to altered results of inappropriate tests.We have designed a study that should be able to demonstrate whether the CDSS aimed at diagnostic testing is not only able to influence appropriateness but also safe with respect to diagnostic error. These findings will influence a lager, nationwide implementation of this CDSS.ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02950142 .
Project description:BACKGROUND?:Following up on patients' clinical courses after hospital discharge may enhance physicians' learning and care of future patients. Barriers to this practice for residents include time constraints, discontinuous training environments, and difficulty accessing patient information. OBJECTIVE?:We designed an educational intervention facilitating informed self-assessment and reflection through structured postdischarge follow-up of patients' longitudinal clinical courses. We then examined the experience of interns who received this intervention in a mixed methods study. METHODS?:Internal medicine interns on a 4-week patient safety rotation received lists of hospitalized patients they had cared for earlier in the year. They selected patients for chart review and completed a guided reflection worksheet for each patient reviewed. Interns then discussed lessons learned in a faculty-led group debrief session. RESULTS?:Of 62 eligible interns, 62 (100%) participated in this intervention and completed 293 reflection worksheets. We analyzed worksheets and transcripts from 6 debrief sessions. Interns reported that postdischarge patient follow-up was valuable for their professional development, and helped them understand the natural history of disease and patients' illness experiences. After reviewing their patients' clinical courses, interns stated that they would advocate for earlier end-of-life counseling, improve care transitions, and adjust their clinical decision-making for similar patients in the future. CONCLUSIONS?:Our educational intervention created the time, space, and structure for postdischarge patient follow-up. It was well received by participants, and is an opportunity for experiential learning.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>Medical students and interns are the principal communicators during inpatient bedside patient- and family-centered rounds. Excellent presenters are able to share information during rounds in a manner that is accurate, effective, and easy for all to understand. We previously identified the behaviors of excellent presenters and developed a term for them: <i>presenter empowerment actions.</i><h4>Methods</h4>To promote the use of presenter empowerment actions, an interactive workshop was created to teach them to medical students and interns. This educational summary contains information on how to facilitate a workshop to promote presenter empowerment actions, which includes both a didactic presentation and an interactive game.<h4>Results</h4>Interns reported increases in confidence and knowledge of empowerment actions, as well as strong intent to incorporate presenter empowerment actions during inpatient rounds.<h4>Discussion</h4>A workshop with an interactive game is an effective way to teach empowerment actions to learners. To reinforce presenter empowerment action use after the workshop, we recommend direct observation using the Suspected Observable Presenter Empowerment Action Checklist to provide formative feedback to the presenters.