Ambulance Use, Health Outcomes, and Costs for Emergency Department Visits for Primary Diagnosis of Syncope in Canada
ABSTRACT: Background Syncope is a common presentation to the emergency department (ED), yet little is known regarding patient mode of arrival. Methods We identified patients ?20 years old who presented to the ED with a primary diagnosis of syncope in Alberta and Ontario, Canada, between 2010 and 2016. Outcomes included 30-day in-hospital mortality, ED revisits, and rehospitalizations according to mode of arrival and discharge status. The estimated cost for ambulance use was calculated based on the provincial rates (Alberta CAD$385 and Ontario $240). Results A total of 271,601 syncope presentations to the ED were identified and 60.7% arrived by ambulance. A total of 76.3% (n = 125,793) of ambulance users and 87.0% of self-presenters (n = 92,845) were discharged from the ED. Regardless of mode of arrival, discharged patients were younger with fewer comorbidities. Compared with ambulance users admitted, those discharged had lower in-hospital mortality (0.2% vs 3.5%, P < 0.001), ED revisits (4.4% vs 10.4%, P < 0.001), and rehospitalizations (3.6% vs 10.7%, P < 0.001). Discharged self-presenters also had significantly lower outcomes (P < 0.001, for each outcome) compared with admitted self-presenters. The estimated cost for ambulance use among patients discharged from the ED was $33,137,735. Conclusion A majority of syncope patients arrived to the ED by ambulance, and over 3 quarters were directly discharged home. Although discharged patients had a favourable short-term prognosis, they incurred high transportation costs. Strategies aimed at preventing unnecessary ambulance use are needed.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Extended delays in the transfer of patients from ambulance to ED can compromise patient flow. The present study aimed to describe the relationship between the use of an Emergency Department Ambulance Off-Load Nurse (EDAOLN) role, ED processes of care and cost effectiveness. METHODS:This was a retrospective observational study over three periods of before (T1), during (T2) and after (T3) the introduction of the EDAOLN role in 2012. Ambulance, ED and cost data were linked and used for analysis. Processes of care measures analysed included: time to be seen by a doctor from ED arrival (primary outcome), ambulance-ED offload compliance, proportion of patients seen within recommended triage timeframe, ED length of stay (LoS), proportion of patients transferred, admitted or discharged from the ED within 4 h and cost effectiveness. RESULTS:A total of 6045 people made 7010 presentations to the ED by ambulance over the study period. Several measures improved significantly between T1 and T2 including offload compliance (T1: 58%; T2: 63%), time to be seen (T1: 31 min; T2: 28 min), ED LoS (T1: 335 min; T2: 306 min), ED LoS <4 h (T1: 31%; T2: 33%). Some measures carried over into T3, albeit to a lesser extent. Post-hoc analyses showed that outcomes improved most for less urgent patients. The annualised net cost of the EDAOLN (if funded from additional resources) of $130?721 could result in an annualised reduction of approximately 3912?h in waiting time to be seen by a doctor. CONCLUSION:With the EDAOLN role in place, slight outcome improvements in several key ambulance and ED efficiency criteria were noted. During times of ED crowding, the EDAOLN role may be one cost-effective strategy to consider.
Project description:In recent years, there has been an increase in poisoning-related emergency department (ED) visits. This study examines trends in ED resource utilization for poisoning-related visits over time. A retrospective review of data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, 2003-2011, was conducted. All ED visits with a reason for visit or ICD-9 code related to poisoning were included. We examined the number of ED visits and resources used including diagnostic studies and procedures performed, medications provided, admission rates, and length of stay. The proportion of visits involving resource use was tabulated and trends analyzed using survey-weighted logistic regression, grouping into 2-year periods to ensure adequate sample size. Of an estimated 843 million ED visits between 2003 and 2011, 8 million (0.9 %) were related to poisoning. Visits increased from 1.8 million (0.8 %) visits in 2003-2004 to 2.9 million (1.1 %) visits in 2010-2011, p = 0.001. Use of laboratory studies, EKGs, plain radiographs, and procedures remained stable across the study period. CT use was more than doubled, increasing from 5.2 to 13.7 % of visits, p = 0.001. ED length of stay increased by 35.5 % from 254 to 344 min, p = 0.001. Admission rates increased by 45.3 %, from 15.0 to 21.8 %, p = 0.046. Over the entire study period, 52.0 % of poisoned patients arrived via ambulance, and 3.0 % of patients had been discharged from the hospital within the previous 7 days. Poisoning-related ED visits increased over the 8-year study period; poisonings are resource-intensive visits and require increasingly longer lengths of ED stay or hospital admission.
Project description:Introduction:Patients discharged from the emergency department (ED) may encounter difficulty finding transportation home, increasing length of stay and ED crowding. We sought to determine the preferences of patients discharged from the ED with regard to their transportation home, and their awareness and past use of ridesharing services such as Lyft and Uber. Methods:We performed a prospective, survey-based study during a five-month period at a university-associated ED and Level I trauma center serving an urban area. Subjects were adult patients who were about to be discharged from the ED. We excluded patients requiring ambulance transport home. Results:Of 500 surveys distributed, 480 (96%) were completed. Average age was 47 ± 19 years, and 61% were female. There were 33,871 ED visits during the study period, and 67% were discharged home. The highest number of subjects arrived by ambulance (27%) followed by being dropped off (25%). Of the 408 (85%) subjects aware of ridesharing services, only eight (2%) came to the ED by this manner; however, 22 (5%) planned to use these services post-discharge. The survey also indicated that 377 (79%) owned smartphones, and 220 (46%) used ridesharing services. The most common plan to get home was with family/friend (35%), which was also the most preferred (29%). Regarding awareness and past use of ridesharing services, we were unable to detect any gender and/or racial differences from univariate analysis. However, we did detect age, education and income differences regarding awareness, but only age and education differences for past use. Logistic regression showed awareness and past use decreased with increasing patient age, but correlated positively with increasing education and income. Half the subjects felt their medical insurance should pay for their transportation, whereas roughly one-third felt ED staff should pay for it. Conclusion:Patients most commonly prefer to be driven home by a family member or friend after discharge from the ED. There is awareness of ridesharing services, but only 5% of patients planned to use these services post-discharge from the ED. Patients who are older, have limited income, and are less educated are less likely to be aware of or have previously used ridesharing services. ED staff may assist these patients by hailing ridesharing services for them at time of discharge.
Project description:It is important that patients with symptoms of acute coronary syndrome receive appropriate medical care as soon as possible. Little is known about the preadmission actions that patients with chest pain take before arrival at the Emergency Department (ED).This study aimed to describe the actions of patients with chest pain or pressure after onset of symptoms. What is the first action following onset of symptoms? Who is the first lay or professional person to be contacted? Which steps are taken first? How is the patient transported to the hospital?Consecutive patients, arriving at the ED of two large hospitals in Belgium, were asked additional questions during the initial assessment.Overall, 35% of 412 consecutive patients with chest pain admitted to the ED were diagnosed with acute coronary syndrome. A total of 57% contacted a GP between symptom onset and arrival at the ED. Only 32% of the patients were transported to the ED by ambulance, 16% drove themselves and 52% arrived by other means of transport (by family, neighbour, GP, public transport).In Belgium, the GP is still the first professional to be contacted for most patients. Other patients initially rely on their partner, family or friends when symptoms emerge. Too often, patients with chest pain rely on other transport to get to the ED instead of calling the Emergency Medical Services. This study included only patients who ultimately attended the ED.
Project description:<h4>Rationale</h4>Early antibiotics improve outcomes for patients with sepsis. Factors influencing antibiotic timing in emergency department (ED) sepsis remain unclear.<h4>Objectives</h4>Determine the relationship between prehospital level of care of patients with sepsis and ED door-to-antibiotic time.<h4>Methods</h4>This retrospective cohort study comprised patients admitted from the community to an academic ED June 2009 to February 2015 with fluid-refractory sepsis or septic shock. Transfer patients and those whose antibiotics began before ED arrival or after ED discharge were excluded. We used multivariable regression to evaluate the association between the time from ED arrival to antibiotic initiation and prehospital level of care, defined as the highest level of emergency medical services received: none, basic life support (BLS) ambulance, or advanced life support (ALS) ambulance. We measured variation in this association when hypotension was or was not present by ED arrival.<h4>Results</h4>Among 361 community-dwelling patients with sepsis, the level of prehospital care correlated with illness severity. ALS-treated patients received antibiotics faster than patients who did not receive prehospital care (median, 103 [interquartile range, 75 to 135] vs. 144 [98 to 251] minutes, respectively) or BLS-only patients (168 [100-250] minutes; P?<?0.001 for each pairwise comparison with ALS). This pattern persisted after multivariable adjustment, where ALS care (-43 min; 95% confidence interval [CI], -84 to -2; P?=?0.033) but not BLS-only care (-4 min; 95% CI, -41 to +34; P?=?0.97) was associated with less antibiotic delay compared with no prehospital care. ALS-treated patients more frequently received antibiotics within 3 hours of ED arrival (91%) compared with walk-in patients (62%; adjusted odds ratio, 3.11; 95% CI, 1.20 to 8.03; P?=?0.015) or BLS-treated patients (56%; adjusted odds ratio, 4.51; 95% CI, 1.89 to 11.35; P?<?0.001). ALS-treated patients started antibiotics faster than walk-in patients in the absence of hypotension by ED arrival (-41 min; 95% CI, -110 to -13; P?=?0.009) but not when hypotension was present (+25 min; 95% CI, -43 to +92; P?=?0.66).<h4>Conclusions</h4>Prehospital ALS but not BLS-only care was associated with faster antibiotic initiation for patients with sepsis without hypotension. Process redesign for non-ALS patients may improve antibiotic timeliness for ED sepsis.
Project description:GUIDED-HF (Get With the Guidelines in Emergency Department Patients With Heart Failure) is a multicenter randomized trial of a patient-centered transitional care intervention in patients with acute heart failure (AHF) who are discharged either directly from the emergency department (ED) or after a brief period of ED-based observation. To optimize care and reduce ED and hospital revisits, there has been significant emphasis on improving transitions at the time of hospital discharge for patients with HF. Such efforts have been almost exclusively directed at hospitalized patients; individuals with AHF who are discharged from the ED or ED-based observation are not included in these transitional care initiatives. Patients with AHF discharged directly from the ED or after a brief period of ED-based observation are randomly assigned to our transition GUIDED-HF strategy or standard ED discharge. Patients in the GUIDED arm receive a tailored discharge plan via the study team, based on their identified barriers to outpatient management and associated guideline-based interventions. This plan includes conducting a home visit soon after ED discharge combined with close outpatient follow-up and subsequent coaching calls to improve postdischarge care and avoid subsequent ED revisits and inpatient admissions. Up to 700 patients at 11 sites will be enrolled over 3 years of the study. GUIDED-HF will test a novel approach to AHF management strategy that includes tailored transitional care for patients discharged from the ED or ED-based observation. If successful, this program may significantly alter the current paradigm of AHF patient care.URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT02519283.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>A possible downstream effect of high in-hospital bed occupancy is that patients in the emergency department (ED) who would benefit from in-hospital care are denied admission. The present study aimed at evaluating this hypothesis through investigating associations between in-hospital bed occupancy at the time of presentation in the ED and the probability for unplanned 72-hour (72-h) revisits to the ED among patients discharged at index. A second outcome was unplanned 72-h revisits resulting in admission.<h4>Methods</h4>All visits to the ED of a 420-bed emergency hospital in southern Sweden between 1 January 2011 and 31 December 2012, which did not result in admission, death, or transfer to another hospital were included. Revisiting fractions were computed for in-hospital occupancy intervals <85%, 85% to 90%, 90% to 95%, 95% to 100%, 100% to 105%, and ?105%. Multivariate models were constructed in an attempt to take confounding factors from, e.g., presenting complaints, age, referral status, and triage priority into account.<h4>Results</h4>Included in the study are 81,878 visits. The fraction of unplanned 72-h revisits/unplanned 72-h revisits resulting in admission was 5.8%/1.4% overall, 6.2%/1.4% for occupancy <85%, 6.4%/1.5% for occupancy 85% to 90%, 5.8%/1.4% for occupancy 90% to 95%, 6.0%/1.6% for occupancy 95% to 100%, 5.4%/1.6% for occupancy 100% to 105%, and 4.9%/1.4% for occupancy ?105%. In the multivariate models, a trend to lower probability of unplanned 72-h revisits was observed at occupancy ?105% compared to occupancy <95% (OR 0.88, CI 0.76 to 1.01). No significant associations between in-hospital occupancy at index and the probability of making unplanned 72-h revisits resulting in admission were observed.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The lack of associations between in-hospital occupancy and unplanned 72-h revisits does not support the hypothesis that ED patients are inappropriately discharged when in-hospital beds are scarce. The results are reassuring as they indicate that physicians are able to make good decisions, also while resources are constrained.
Project description:Africa accounts for one sixth of global road traffic deaths-most in the pre-hospital setting. Ambulance transport is expensive relative to other modes of pre-hospital transport, but has advantages in time-sensitive, high-acuity scenarios. Many countries, including Ethiopia, are expanding ambulance fleets, but clinical characteristics of patients using ambulances remain ill-defined.This is a cross-sectional study of 662 road traffic collisions (RTC) patients arriving to a single trauma referral center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, over 7 months. Emergency Department triage records were used to abstract clinical and arrival characteristics, including acuity. The outcome of interest was ambulance arrival. Secondary outcomes of interest were inter-facility referral and referral communication. Descriptive and multivariable statistics were computed to identify factors independently associated with outcomes.Over half of patients arrived with either high (13.1%) or moderate (42.2%) acuity. Over half (59.0%) arrived by ambulance, and nearly two thirds (65.9%) were referred. Among referred patients, inter-facility communication was poor (57.7%). Patients with high acuity were most likely to be referred (aOR 2.20, 95%CI 1.16-4.17), but were not more likely to receive ambulance transport (aOR 1.56, 95%CI 0.86-2.84) or inter-facility referral communication (aOR 0.98, 95%CI 0.49-1.94) than those with low acuity. Nearly half (40.2%) of all patients were referred by ambulance despite having low acuity.Despite ambulance expansion in Addis Ababa, ambulance use among RTC patients remains heavily concentrated among those with low-acuity. Inter-facility referral appears a primary contributor to low-acuity ambulance use. In other contexts, similar routine ambulance monitoring may help identify low-value utilization. Regional guidelines may help direct ambulance use where most valuable, and warrant further evaluation.
Project description:STUDY OBJECTIVE:Many adults with syncope are hospitalized solely for observation and testing. We seek to determine whether hospitalization versus outpatient management for older adults with unexplained syncope is associated with a reduction in postdisposition serious adverse events at 30 days. METHODS:We performed a propensity score analysis using data from a prospective, observational study of older adults with unexplained syncope or near syncope who presented to 11 emergency departments (EDs) in the United States. We enrolled adults (?60 years) who presented with syncope or near syncope. We excluded patients with a serious diagnosis identified in the ED. Clinical and laboratory data were collected on all patients. The primary outcome was rate of post-ED serious adverse events at 30 days. RESULTS:We enrolled 2,492 older adults with syncope and no serious ED diagnosis from April 2013 to September 2016. Mean age was 73 years (SD 8.9 years), and 51% were women. The incidence of serious adverse events within 30 days after the index visit was 7.4% for hospitalized patients and 3.19% for discharged patients, representing an unadjusted difference of 4.2% (95% confidence interval 2.38% to 6.02%). After propensity score matching on risk of hospitalization, there was no statistically significant difference in serious adverse events at 30 days between the hospitalized group (4.89%) and the discharged group (2.82%) (risk difference 2.07%; 95% confidence interval -0.24% to 4.38%). CONCLUSION:In our propensity-matched sample of older adults with unexplained syncope, for those with clinical characteristics similar to that of the discharged cohort, hospitalization was not associated with improvement in 30-day serious adverse event rates.
Project description:Study Objective:Patients with syncope are frequently admitted to the hospital, but whether this improves outcome is unknown. We tested whether hospitalization reduced mortality in patients who presented to emergency departments (EDs) with syncope. Methods:We conducted a propensity analysis of the outcomes of patients ?18 years old presenting to EDs with a primary diagnosis of syncope in April 2004-March 2013. The model used 1:1 nearest-neighbor matching to predicted admission using age, sex, urban residence, household income, and 14 significant comorbidities from 4 administrative databases of the province of Alberta. The primary outcome was death. Results:There were 57,417 ED patients with a primary diagnosis of syncope; 8864 were admitted, and 48,553 were discharged in <24 hours. Admitted patients were older (median 76 vs 49 years), male (53% vs 45%), rural (23% vs 18%), and had lower income (median $58,599 vs $61,422); all P < 0.001. All comorbidities were higher in admitted patients (mean Charlson scores, 1.9 vs 0.7; P < 0.001). The propensity-matched hospitalized patients had higher 30-day mortality (3.5% vs 1.0%) and 1-year mortality (14.1% vs 8.6%); both P < 0.001. Mortality in all propensity quintiles was higher in the hospitalized group (all P < 0.001). The most common causes of death in 2719 patients included chronic ischemic heart disease, 14%; lung cancer, 7.1%; acute myocardial infarction, 6.9%; stroke, 3.7%; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 3.6%; dementia, 2.6%; and heart failure, 2.5%. Conclusions:Hospital admission did not reduce early or late mortality in patients who presented to the ED with syncope. Mortality is associated with comorbidities.