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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Volume 19, Issue 4, 2018

Population Health Research Design

Understanding the Use of Composite Endpoints in Clinical Trials

Clinicians, institutions, healthcare networks, and policymakers use outcomes reported in clinical trials as the basis for medical decision-making when managing individual patients or populations. Therefore, the choice of a valid primary endpoint is crucial for randomized controlled trials (RCT) to demonstrate efficacy of new therapies. Recent improvements in treatment, however, have led to a decline in the morbidity and mortality of several common diseases, resulting in a reduction in relevant outcomes that can be used as clinical trial endpoints. Composite endpoints have been used as a solution to maintain the feasibility of RCTs, particularly when facing low event rates, high cost, and long follow-up. However, the benefits of using composite endpoints must be weighed against the risks of misinterpretation by clinicians and policymakers, as incorrect interpretation may have a detrimental effect on patients and populations. This paper defines a composite endpoint, discusses the rationale for its use, and provides a practical approach to interpreting results to aid in medical decision-making.


Emergency Department Time Course for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Workup

Introduction: Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is a common cause for visits to the emergency department (ED). The actual time required for an ED workup of a patient with mTBI in the United States is not well known. National emergency medicine organizations have recommended reducing unnecessary testing, including head computed tomography (CT) for these patients.10

Methods: To examine this issue, we developed a care map that included each step of evaluation of mTBI (Glasgow Coma Scale Score 13-15) – from initial presentation to the ED to discharge. Time spent at each step was estimated by a panel of United States emergency physicians and nurses. We subsequently validated time estimates using retrospectively collected, real-time data at two EDs. Length of stay (LOS) time differences between admission and discharged patients were calculated for patients being evaluated for mTBI.

Results: Evaluation for mTBI was estimated at 401 minutes (6.6 hours) in EDs. Time related to head CT comprised about one-half of the total LOS. Real-time data from two sites corroborated the estimate of median time difference between ED admission and discharge, at 6.3 hours for mTBI.

Conclusion: Limiting use of head CT as part of the workup of mTBI to more serious cases may reduce time spent in the ED and potentially improve overall ED throughput.

Public Health

Geospatial Clustering of Opioid-Related Emergency Medical Services Runs for Public Deployment of Naloxone

Introduction: The epidemic of opioid use disorder and opioid overdose carries extensive morbidity and mortality and necessitates a multi-pronged, community-level response. Bystander administration of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone is effective, but it is not universally available and requires consistent effort on the part of citizens to proactively carry naloxone. An alternate approach would be to position naloxone kits where they are most needed in a community, in a manner analogous to automated external defibrillators. We hypothesized that opioid overdoses would show geospatial clustering within a community, leading to potential target sites for such publicly deployed naloxone (PDN).

Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review of 700 emergency medical service (EMS) runs that involved opioid overdose or naloxone administration in Cambridge, Massachusetts, between 10/16/2016 and 05/10/2017. We used geospatial analysis to examine for clustering in general, and to identify specific clusters amenable to PDN sites.

Results: Opioid-related EMS runs in Cambridge, MA, exhibit significant geospatial clustering, and we identified three clusters of opioid-related EMS runs in Cambridge with distinct characteristics. Models of PDN sites at these clusters show that approximately 40% of all opioid-related EMS runs in Cambridge, MA, would be accessible within 200 meters of PDN sites placed at cluster centroids.

Conclusion: Identifying clusters of opioid-related EMS runs within a community may help to improve community coverage of naloxone, and strongly suggests that PDN could be a useful adjunct to bystander-administered naloxone in stemming the tide of opioid-related death.

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Systemwide Clinical Ultrasound Program Development: An Expert Consensus Model

Clinical ultrasound (CUS) is integral to the practice of an increasing number of medical specialties. Guidelines are needed to ensure effective CUS utilization across health systems. Such guidelines should address all aspects of CUS within a hospital or health system. These include leadership, training, competency, credentialing, quality assurance and improvement, documentation, archiving, workflow, equipment, and infrastructure issues relating to communication and information technology. To meet this need, a group of CUS subject matter experts, who have been involved in institution- and/or systemwide clinical ultrasound (SWCUS) program development convened.  The purpose of this paper was to create a model for SWCUS development and implementation.

Prehospital Care

Paramedic Out-of-hospital Cardiac Arrest Case Volume Is a Predictor of Return of Spontaneous Circulation

Introduction: Many factors contribute to the survival of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). One such factor is the quality of resuscitation efforts, which in turn may be a function of OHCA case volume. However, few studies have investigated the OHCA case volume-survival relationship.  Consequently, we sought to develop a model describing the likelihood of return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) as a function of paramedic cumulative OHCA experience.

Methods: We conducted a statewide retrospective study of cardiac arrest using the North Carolina Prehospital Care Reporting System. Adult patients suffering a witnessed, non-traumatic cardiac arrest between January 2012 and June 2014 were included. Using logistic regression, we calculated an adjusted odds ratio (OR) for the influence of the preceding five-year paramedic OHCA case volume on ROSC while controlling for the potentially confounding variables identified a priori as patient age, gender, and non-Caucasian race; shockable presenting rhythm; layperson/first responder cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR); and emergency medical services (EMS) response time.  Results: Of the 6,405 patients meeting inclusion criteria, 3,155 (49.3%) experienced ROSC. ROSC was more likely among patients treated by paramedics with ≥ 15 OHCA experiences during the preceding five years (OR [1.21], p<0.01). ROSC was also more likely among patients with shockable initial rhythms (OR [2.35], p<0.01) and who received layperson/first responder CPR (OR [1.77], p<0.01). Increasing patient age (OR [0.996], p=0.02), male gender (OR [0.742], p<0.01), and increasing EMS response time (OR [0.954], p<0.01) were associated with a decreased likelihood of ROSC. Non-Caucasian race was not an independent predictor of ROSC.

Conclusion: We found that a paramedic five-year OHCA case volume of ≥ 15 is significantly associated with ROSC. Further study is needed to determine the specific actions of these more experienced paramedics who are responsible for the increased likelihood of ROSC, as well as the influence of case volume on the longer-term outcome measures of hospital discharge and neurological function.

Procedural Safety

A Randomized Comparison of In-hospital Rescuer Positions for Endotracheal Intubation in a Difficult Airway

Introduction: Emergency endotracheal intubation (ETI) is a common and critical procedure performed in both prehospital and in-hospital settings. Studies of prehospital providers have demonstrated that rescuer position influences ETI outcomes. However, studies of in-hospital rescuer position for ETI are limited. While we adhere to strict standards for the administration of ETI, we posited that perhaps requiring in-hospital rescuers to stand for ETI is an obstacle to effectiveness. Our objective was to compare in-hospital emergency medicine (EM) trainees’ performance on ETI delivered from both the seated and standing positions.

Methods: EM residents performed ETI on a difficult airway mannequin from both a seated and standing position. They were randomized to the position from which they performed ETI first. All ETIs were recorded and then scored using a modified version of the Airway Management Proficiency Checklist. Residents also rated the laryngeal view and the difficulty of the procedure. We analyzed comparisons between ETI positions with paired t-tests.

Results: Forty-two of our 49 residents (85.7%) participated. Fifteen (35.7%) were female, and all three levels of training were represented. The average number of prior ETI experiences among our subjects was 44 (standard deviation=34). All scores related to ETI performance were statistically equivalent across the two positions (performance score, number of attempts, time to intubation success, and ratings of difficulty and laryngeal view). We also observed no differences across levels of training.

Conclusion: The position of the in-hospital provider, whether seated or standing, had no effect on the provider’s ETI performance. Since environmental circumstances sometimes necessitate alternative positioning for effective ETI administration, our findings suggest that there may be value in training residents to perform ETI from both positions.

Critical Care

Simple Changes to Emergency Department Workflow Improve Analgesia in Mechanically Ventilated Patients

Introduction: In 2013 the Society for Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) published guidelines for the management of pain and agitation in the intensive care unit (ICU). These guidelines recommend using an analgesia-first strategy in mechanically ventilated patients as well as reducing the use of benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines increase delirium in ICU patients thereby increasing ICU length of stay. We sought to determine whether a simple educational intervention for emergency department (ED) staff, as well as two simple changes in workflow, would improve adherence to the SCCM guidelines.

Methods: This was a cohort study that took place from 2014-2016. All patients who were intubated in the ED by an emergency physician (EP) during this time were eligible for inclusion in this study. In January 2015, we began an educational campaign with the ED staff consisting of a series of presentations and online trainings. The impetus for our educational campaign was to have best practices in place for our new emergency medicine residency program starting in July 2016. We made two minor changes in our ED workflow to support this educational objective. First, fentanyl infusions were stocked in the ED. Second, we instituted a medication order set for mechanically ventilated patients. This order set nudged EPs to choose medications consistent with the SCCM guidelines. We then evaluated the use of opioids and benzodiazepines in mechanically ventilated patients from 2014 through 2016 using Fisher’s exact test. All analyses were conducted in the overall sample (n=509) as well as in subgroups after excluding patients with seizures/status epilepticus as their primary admission diagnosis (n=461).

Results: In 2014 prior to the interventions, 41% of mechanically ventilated patients received an opioid, either as an intravenous (IV) push or IV infusion. In 2015 immediately after the intervention, 71% of patients received an opioid and 64% received an opioid in 2016. The use of benzodiazepine infusions decreased from 22% in 2014 to 7% in 2015 to 1% in 2016.

Conclusion: A brief educational intervention along with two simple changes in ED workflow can improve compliance with the SCCM guidelines for the management of pain and agitation in mechanically ventilated patients.

International Medicine

Using the Natural Experiment Study Design to Evaluate the Effect of a Change in Doctor’s Roster on Patient Flow in an Emergency Department

Introduction: The effect of changes in doctors’ rosters is rarely subjected to scientific evaluation. We describe how a natural experiment (NE) study design can be used to evaluate if a managerial decision about doctors’ rosters has an effect on patient flow in an emergency department (ED). We hypothesized that an extra doctor each morning from 6 a.m. (i.e., a modified “casino shift”) might improve the productivity of a hospital’s ED.

Methods: This was an NE observational study using data on patient flow in the ED of Zealand University Hospital, Denmark, between April 1, 2016, and April 1, 2017. We compared days on which the 6 a.m. emergency physician called in sick (case days) with data from the same weekday a week later where staffing was as scheduled (control days).

Results: Patient caseload did not did differ significantly on days with and without the extra doctor from 6 a.m. (measured by number of admissions, triage scores and mean patient age). Door-to-doctor time was 70 minutes (mean, standard deviation [SD], 49) on days without the extra doctor and 56 minutes (mean, SD 41) on days with the early-morning doctor present (p > 0.05). ED length of stay was 250 minutes (mean, SD 119) on days without the extra doctor and 209 minutes (mean, SD 109) on days with the early-morning doctor present (p > 0.05).

Conclusion: In our setting, an extra doctor in the ED from 6 a.m. did not change patient flow. These results suggest that the workflow in the ED should be viewed as a connected supply chain. The study also demonstrates that a natural experiment study design can be used to evaluate ED managerial decisions.


Opioid Administration and Prescribing in Older Adults in U.S. Emergency Departments (2005-2015)

Introduction: We assess trends in opioid administration and prescribing from 2005-2015 in older adults in U.S. emergency departments (ED).

Methods: We analyzed data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) survey from 2005 to 2015. ED visits for painful conditions were selected and stratified by age (18-64, 65-74, 75-84, ≥ 85 years). We analyzed trends in opioid administration in the ED and prescribing at discharge to encounters ≥ 65 and assessed predictors of use using survey-weighted chi-square tests and logistic regression. Trends in the use of five commonly prescribed opioids were also explored.

Results: Opioid administration in the ED and prescribing at discharge for encounters with patients ≥ 65 years fell overall, but not significantly.  By contrast, opioid administration in the ED and prescribing at discharge significantly declined for adult encounters 18-64 by 20% and 32%, respectively. A similar proportion of adult encounters ≥ 65 were administered opioids in the ED as 18-64, but adult encounters ≥ 85 had the lowest rates of administration. A smaller proportion of adult encounters ≥ 65 years with painful conditions were prescribed opioids at discharge compared to <65. However, this age-related disparity in prescribing narrowed over the study period. There were shifts in the specific types of opioids administered and prescribed in adult encounters ≥ 65 years over the study period, with the most notable being a 76% increase of in hydromorphone administration comparing 2005-06 to 2014-15.

Conclusion: From 2005-15, 1 in 4 to 1 in 10 ED patients with painful conditions were administered or prescribed an opioid in U.S. EDs. Opioids prescribing increased from 2005-11 and then declined from 2012-15, more so among visits in the 18-64 age group compared to ≥ 65 years. Opioid administrating demonstrated a gradual rise and decline in all adult age groups. Age consistently appears to be an important consideration, where opioid prescribing declines with advancing age. Given the nationwide opioid crisis, ED providers should remain vigilant in limiting opioids, particularly in older adults who are at higher risk for adverse effects.

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Infectious Disease

Cost of Routine Herpes Simplex Virus Infection Visits to U.S. Emergency Departments 2006-2013

Introduction: Little is known about emergency department (ED) utilization for herpes simplex viruses (HSV) types 1 and 2 in the United States. Our goal was to determine the utilization and cost burden associated with HSV infection visits to U.S. EDs in recent years from 2006-2013.Methods: We analyzed the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS) database, the largest national database of hospital-based ED visits in the U.S., to determine the number of visits and the cost associated with HSV visits from 2006-2013. We also analyzed trends across years.Results: From 2006-2013, there were 704,728 ED visits with a primary diagnosis of HSV infection. Of these, 658,805 (93.5%) resulted in routine discharges without inpatient admission, amounting to a total ED charge of $543.0 million. After adjusting for inflation, there was a doubling of total ED spending for HSV from 2006 to 2013 ($45.0 million to $90.7 million) and a 24% increase in number of visits (73,227 visits in 2006, vs. 90,627 visits in 2013). ED visits for genital herpes have increased while visits for herpes gingivostomatitis have decreased.Conclusion: HSV-associated ED use and associated costs have increased between 2006-2013.  Most of these cases could likely be managed in non-emergent outpatient settings as 93.5% of visits resulted in routine discharges without admission . Our findings add to knowledge regarding HSV utilization and epidemiology in the U.S. and highlight the need for continued prevention, patient education, and emphasis of care in non-emergency settings to prevent unnecessary ED utilization.

Legal Medicine

Anaphylaxis-related Malpractice Lawsuits

Introduction: Anaphylaxis continues to cause significant morbidity and mortality. Healthcare providers struggle to promptly recognize and appropriately treat anaphylaxis patients. The goal of this study was to characterize anaphylaxis-related malpractice lawsuits.

Methods: We collected jury verdicts, settlements, and court opinions regarding alleged medical malpractice involving anaphylaxis from May 2011 through May 2015 from an online legal database (Thomson Reuters Westlaw). Data were abstracted onto a standardized data form.

Results: We identified 30 anaphylaxis-related malpractice lawsuits. In 80% of cases, the trigger was iatrogenic (40% intravenous [IV] contrast, 33% medications, 7% latex). Sixteen (53%) cases resulted in death, 7 (23%) in permanent cardiac and/or neurologic damage, and 7 (23%) in less severe outcomes. Fourteen (47%) of the lawsuits were related to exposure to a known trigger. Delayed recognition or treatment was cited in 12 (40%) cases and inappropriate IV epinephrine dosing was reported in 5 (17%) cases. Defendants were most commonly physicians (n=15, 50%) and nurses (n=5, 17%). The most common physician specialties named were radiology and primary care (n=3, 10% each), followed by emergency medicine, anesthesiology, and cardiology (n=2, 7% each). Among the 30 cases, 14 (47%) favored the defendant, 8 (37%) resulted in findings of negligence, 3 (10%) cases settled, and 5 (17%) had an unknown legal outcome.

Conclusion: Additional anaphylaxis education, provision of epinephrine autoinjectors or other alternatives to reduce dosing errors, and stronger safeguards to prevent administration of known allergens would all likely reduce anaphylaxis-related patient morbidity and mortality and providers’ legal vulnerability to anaphylaxis-related lawsuits.

Technology in Emergency Medicine

Initial Standardized Framework for Reporting Social Media Analytics in Emergency Care Research

The use of social media platforms to disseminate information, translate knowledge, change clinical care and create communities of practice is becoming increasingly common in emergency and critical care. With this adoption come new lines and methods of inquiry for research in healthcare. While tools exist to standardize the reporting of clinical studies and systematic reviews, there is no agreed framework for examining social media–based research. This article presents a publication and appraisal checklist for such work and invites further collaboration in the form of a Delphi technique to clarify, expand, improve, and validate the proposal.


Suffocation Injuries in the United States: Patient Characteristics and Factors Associated with Mortality

Introduction: Asphyxiation or suffocation injuries can result in multi-organ damage and are a major cause of morbidity and mortality among different age groups. This study aims to describe characteristics of patients presenting with suffocation injuries to emergency departments (EDs) in the U.S and to identify factors associated with mortality in this population.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional study using the 2013 U.S National Emergency Department Sample database. ED visits with primary diagnoses of intentional or accidental suffocation injury, and injury by inhalation and aspiration of foreign bodies or food (ICD-9-CM codes) were included. We performed descriptive statistics to describe the study population. This was followed by multivariate analyses to identify factors associated with mortality.

Results: We included a total of 27,381 ED visits for suffocation injuries. Most suffered from either inhalation and ingestion of food causing obstruction of respiratory tract or suffocation (51.6%), or suicide and self-inflicted injury by hanging, strangulation, and suffocation (39.4%). Overall mortality was 10.9%. Over half (54.7%) of the patients were between 19 and 65 years old. Males were more common than females (59.1% vs. 40.9%). Over half of the patients (54.9%) were treated and released from the ED. Factors associated with increased mortality included male gender, young age (4-18 years), diseases of the cardiac, respiratory, genitourinary and neurologic systems, intentional self-harm, and self-payer status.

Conclusion: Mortality from suffocation injuries remains high with significant burden on children and adolescents and on patients with intentional injuries. Tailored initiatives targeting identified modifiable factors through implementation of behavioral and environmental change can reduce the risk of suffocation injury and improve clinical outcomes of affected victims.


Computed Tomography Risk Disclosure in the Emergency Department: A Survey of Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship Program Leaders

Introduction: Given the potential malignancy risks associated with computed tomography (CT), some physicians are increasingly advocating for risk disclosure to patients/families.Objective: Our goal was to evaluate the practices and attitudes of pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) fellowship program leaders’ regarding CT radiation-risk disclosure.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey study of U.S. and Canadian PEM fellowship directors and associate/assistant directors. We developed a web-based survey using a modified Dillman technique. Primary outcome was the proportion who “almost always” or “most of the time” discussed potential malignancy risks from CT prior to ordering this test.

Results: Of 128 physicians who received the survey, 108 (86%) responded. Of those respondents, 73%, 95% confidence interval (CI) [64-81] reported “almost always” or “most of the time” discussing potential malignancy risks when ordering a CT for infants; proportions for toddlers, school-age children, and teenagers were 72% (95% CI [63-80]), 66% (95% CI [56-75]), and 58% (95% CI [48-67]), respectively (test for trend, p=0.008). Eighty percent reported being “extremely” or “very” comfortable discussing radiation risks. Factors of “high” or “very high” importance in disclosing risks included parent request for a CT not deemed clinically indicated for 94% of respondents, and parent-initiated queries about radiation risks for 79%. If risk disclosure became mandatory, 82% favored verbal discussion over written informed consent.

Conclusion: PEM fellowship program leaders report frequently disclosing potential malignancy risks from CT, with the frequency varying inversely with patient age. Motivating factors for discussions included parental request for a CT deemed clinically unnecessary and parental inquiry about risks.

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Patient Preference for Pain Medication in the Emergency Department Is Associated with Non-fatal Overdose History

Introduction: Opioid overdose is a major public health problem. Emergency physicians need information to better assess a patient’s risk for overdose or opioid-related harms. The purpose of this study was to determine if patient-reported preference for specific pain medications was associated with a history of lifetime overdose among patients seeking care in the emergency department (ED).

Methods: ED patients (18-60 years) completed a screening survey that included questions on overdose history, ED utilization, opioid misuse behaviors as measured by the Current Opioid Misuse Measure (COMM), and analgesic medication preferences for previous ED visits for pain with specific responses for preference for Dilaudid®, morphine, Toradol®, “no preference” or “never visited the ED for pain.” We compared individuals who reported a lifetime history of overdose descriptively to those without a lifetime history of overdose. Logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with a history of overdose.

Results: We included 2,233 adults in the analysis (71.5% response rate of patients approached) with 532 reporting at least one lifetime overdose. In the univariate analysis, medication preference was significantly associated with overdose history (p < .001); more patients in the overdose group reported preferring morphine and Dilaudid® and those without a history of overdose were more likely to have no preference or say they had never visited the ED for pain. In the logistic regression analysis, patients with higher odds of overdose included those of Caucasian race, participants with a higher COMM score, preference for Toradol®, morphine or Dilaudid®. Those who were younger, female and reported never having visited the ED for pain had lower odds of reporting a lifetime overdose. Having “any preference” corresponded to 48% higher odds of lifetime overdose.

Conclusion: Patients with a pain medication preference have higher odds of having a lifetime overdose compared to patients without a specific pain medication preference, even after accounting for level of opioid misuse. This patient-reported preference could cue emergency physicians to identifying high-risk patients for overdose and other substance-related harms.

Transaminase and Creatine Kinase Ratios for Differentiating Delayed Acetaminophen Overdose from Rhabdomyolysis

Introduction: Rhabdomyolysis and delayed acetaminophen hepatotoxicity may be associated with elevated serum transaminase values. Establishing the cause of elevated transaminases may be especially difficult because of limited or inaccurate histories of acetaminophen ingestion. We hypothesized that the comparative ratios of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and creatine kinase (CK) could differentiate acetaminophen hepatotoxicity from rhabdomyolysis.

Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review of patients in four hospitals from 2006 to 2011 with a discharge diagnosis of acetaminophen toxicity or rhabdomyolysis. Subjects were classified into three groups: rhabdomyolysis, acetaminophen overdose (all), and acetaminophen overdose with undetectable serum acetaminophen concentrations (acetaminophen [delayed]). We compared ratios of AST, ALT, and CK using non-parametric statistical methods. 

Results: The AST/ALT ratio for the rhabdomyolysis group was 1.66 (Interquartile range: 1.18- 2.22), for the acetaminophen overdose (all) group was 1.38 (1.08-1.69, statistically lower than the rhabdomyolysis group, p = 0.018), and for the acetaminophen (delayed) group was 1.30 (1.06-1.63, p = 0.037). CK/AST ratios were 21.3 (12.8-42.2), 5.49 (2.52-15.1, p < 0.001 ), and 3.80 (1.43-13.8, p < 0.001) respectively. CK/ALT ratios were 37.1 (16.1-80.0), 5.77 (2.79-25.2, p < 0.001), and 5.03 (2.20-17.4, p < 0.001), respectively. Increasing CK-to-transaminase ratio cutoffs resulted in increasing test sensitivity but lower specificity.  

Conclusion: AST/ALT, CK/AST and CK/ALT ratios are significantly larger in rhabdomyolysis when compared to patients with acetaminophen toxicity. This result suggests that the ratios could be used to identify patients with rhabdomyolysis who otherwise might have been diagnosed as delayed acetaminophen toxicity. Such patients may not require treatment with N-acetylcysteine, resulting in cost savings and improved resource utilization.


Scholarship in Emergency Medicine: A Primer for Junior Academics: Part II: Promoting Your Career and Achieving Your Goals

Scholarship is an important component of success for academic emergency physicians. Scholarship can take many forms, but all require careful planning. In this article, we provide expert consensus recommendations for improving junior faculty’s scholarship in emergency medicine (EM). Specific focus is given to promoting your research career, obtaining additional training opportunities, networking in EM, and other strategies for strategically directing a long-term career in academicmedicine.

Journal Club in Residency Education: An Evidence-based Guide to Best Practices from the Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors

Journal clubs are an important tool for critically appraising articles and keeping up-to-date with the current literature. This paper provides a critical review of the literature on the design and structure of journal clubs in residency education with a focus on preparation, topic selection, implementation, and integration of technology. Recommendations for preparation include developing clearly defined goals and objectives that are agreed upon by all journal club participants; mentorship from experienced faculty members to ensure appropriate article selection, maintenance of structure, and applicability to objectives; distribution of articles to participants 1-2 weeks prior to the scheduled session with reminders to read the articles at predetermined intervals; and the use of a structured critical appraisal tool for evaluating the articles. Recommendations for topic selection include selecting a primary objective of either critical appraisal or informing clinical practice and ensuring that the articles align with the objective; involving learners in the topic- and article-selection process; and having the article selection driven by a specific clinical question. Recommendations for implementation include hosting sessions in the evening and away from the hospital environment; providing food to participants; hosting meetings on a monthly basis at regularly scheduled intervals; mandating journal club attendance; and using theories of adult learning. Recommendations for integration of technology include using previously established, effective strategies and determining the feasibility of creating an online journal club versus joining an established journal club. It is the authors’ intention that after reading this paper readers will have new strategies and techniques for implementing and running a journal club at their home institutions.

Teaching Methods Utilized During Medical Resuscitations in an Academic Emergency Department

Introduction: One important skill that an emergency medicine trainee must learn is the resuscitation of the critically ill patient. There is research describing clinical teaching strategies used in the emergency department (ED), but less is known about specific methods employed during actual medical resuscitations. Our objective was to identify and describe the teaching methods used during medical resuscitations.

Methods: This was a prospective study involving review of 22 videotaped, medical resuscitations. Two teams of investigators first each reviewed and scored the amount and types of teaching observed for the same two videos. Each team then watched and scored 10 different videos. We calculated a Cohen’s kappa statistic for the first two videos. For the remaining 20 videos, we determined means and standard deviations , and we calculated independent two-tailed t-tests to compare means between different demographic and clinical situations.

Results: The Cohen’s kappa statistic was K=0.89 with regard to number of teaching events and K=0.82 for types of teaching observed. Of the resuscitations reviewed, 12 were in coding patients. We identified 148 episodes of teaching, for an average of 7.4 per resuscitation. The amount of teaching did not vary with regard to whether the patient was coding or not (p=0.97), nor based onwhether the primary learner was a junior or senior resident (p=0.59). Questioning, affirmatives and advice-giving were the most frequently observed teaching methods.

Conclusion: Teachers use concise teaching methods to instruct residents who lead medical resuscitations. Further research should focus on the effectiveness of these identified strategies.

A Targeted Mindfulness Curriculum for Medical Students During Their Emergency Medicine Clerkship Experience

Introduction: Despite high rates of burnout in senior medical students, many schools provide the majority of their wellness training during the first and second preclinical years. Students planning a career in emergency medicine (EM) may be at particularly high risk of burnout, given that EM has one of the highest burnout rates of all the specialties in the U.S. We developed an innovative, mindfulness-based curriculum designed to be integrated into a standard EM clerkship for senior medical students to help students manage stress and reduce their risk of burnout.

Methods: The curriculum included these components: (1) four, once-weekly, 60-minute classroom sessions; (2) prerequisite reading assignments; (3) individual daily meditation practice and journaling; and (4) the development of a personalized wellness plan with the help of a mentor. The design was based on self-directed learning theory and focused on building relatedness, competence, and autonomy to help cultivate mindfulness.

Results: Thirty students participated in the curriculum; 20 were included in the final analysis. Each student completed surveys prior to, immediately after, and six months after participation in the curriculum. We found significant changes in the self-reported behaviors and attitudes of the students immediately following participation in the curriculum, which were sustained up to six months later.

Conclusion: Although this was a pilot study, our pilot curriculum had a significantly sustained self-reported behavioral impact on our students. In the future, this intervention could easily be adapted for any four-week rotation during medical school to reduce burnout and increase physician wellness.


  • 1 supplemental PDF