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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Volume 20, Issue 4, 2019

Volume 20 Issue 4

Provider Workforce

Resource Utilization in Non-Academic Emergency Departments with Advanced Practice Providers

Introduction: Advanced practice providers (APP), including physicians’ assistants and nurse practitioners, have been increasingly incorporated into emergency department (ED) staffing over the past decade. There is scant literature examining resource utilization and the cost benefit of having APPs in the ED. The objectives of this study were to compare resource utilization in EDs that use APPs in their staffing model with those that do not and to estimate costs associated with the utilized resources.

Methods: In this five-year retrospective secondary data analysis of the Emergency Department Benchmarking Alliance (EDBA), we compared resource utilization rates in EDs with and without APPs in non-academic EDs. Primary outcomes were hospital admission and use of computed tomography (CT), radiography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Costs were estimated using the 2014 physician fee schedule and inpatient payments from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. We measured outcomes as rates per 100 visits. Data were analyzed using a mixed linear model with repeated measures, adjusted for annual volume, patient acuity, and attending hours. We used the adjusted net difference to project utilization costs between the two groups per 1000 visits.

Results: Of the 1054 EDs included in this study, 79% employed APPs. Relative to EDs without APPs, EDs staffing APPs had higher resource utilization rates (use per 100 visits): 3.0 more admissions (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.0–4.1), 1.7 more CTs (95% CI, 0.2–3.1), 4.5 more radiographs (95% CI, 2.2–6.9), and 1.0 more ultrasound (95% CI, 0.3–1.7) but comparable MRI use 0.1 (95% CI, -0.2–0.3). Projected costs of these differences varied among the resource utilized. Compared to EDs without APPs, EDs with APPs were estimated to have 30.4 more admissions per 1000 visits, which could accrue $414,717 in utilization costs.

Conclusion: EDs staffing APPs were associated with modest increases in resource utilization as measured by admissions and imaging studies.

 

  • 1 supplemental file

Violence Assessment and Prevention

Preferences for Firearm Locking Devices and Device Features Among Participants in a Firearm Safety Event

Introduction: Safe firearm storage is associated with a lower risk of firearm-related injury and death. Although providing firearm locking devices is a key component of firearm safety interventions, little is known about the types and characteristics of devices preferred by firearm users or others who make decisions about firearm storage. The aim of this study was to describe preferences for firearm locking devices and device features among firearm safety event participants.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey in the State of Washington in 2016 that assessed participants’ preferences for five firearm locking devices (eg, trigger lock) and seven device features (eg, quick access). We categorized respondents (n=401) as adults in households with 1) all firearms locked, 2) at least one unlocked firearm, and 3) no firearms. We analyzed data in 2017.

Results: Device ownership and feature preferences varied substantially but were similar across the three household categories. Of those residing with unlocked firearms, 84% reported they would consider using or definitely use a lock box, whereas 11% reported they would never use a trigger lock. Additionally, of those residing with unlocked firearms, 80% and 89% reported that the ability to lock a firearm while loaded and unlock it quickly were, respectively, “very important” or “absolutely essential.”

Conclusion: Participants had differing preferences for firearm locking devices and device features, although preferences were largely similar across households with locked, unlocked, or no firearms. At least eight in ten participants reported “great importance” regarding the ability to lock a firearm while loaded and unlock it quickly, which is likely related to perceptions about the utility of safely stored firearms for household protection. Designing firearm safety interventions to match the needs and preferences of those who make firearm storage decisions may improve their effectiveness.

  • 2 supplemental files

Behavioral Health

Legalized Cannabis in Colorado Emergency Departments: A Cautionary Review of Negative Health and Safety Effects

Cannabis legalization has led to significant health consequences, particularly to patients in emergency departments and hospitals in Colorado. The most concerning include psychosis, suicide, and other substance abuse. Deleterious effects on the brain include decrements in complex decision-making, which may not be reversible with abstinence. Increases in fatal motor vehicle collisions, adverse effects on cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, inadvertent pediatric exposures, cannabis contaminants exposing users to infectious agents, heavy metals, and pesticides, and hash-oil burn injuries in preparation of drug concentrates have been documented. Cannabis dispensary workers (“budtenders”) without medical training are giving medical advice that may be harmful to patients. Cannabis research may offer novel treatment of seizures, spasticity from multiple sclerosis, nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, chronic pain, improvements in cardiovascular outcomes, and sleep disorders. Progress has been slow due to absent standards for chemical composition of cannabis products and limitations on research imposed by federal classification of cannabis as illegal. Given these factors and the Colorado experience, other states should carefully evaluate whether and how to decriminalize or legalize non-medical cannabis use.

Geriatrics

Evidence-Informed Practice: Diagnostic Questions in Urinary Tract Infections in the Elderly

Introduction: Routine interventions in the practice of medicine often lack definitive evidence or are based on evidence that is either not high quality or of only modest-to-marginal effect sizes. An abnormal urinalysis in an elderly patient presenting to the emergency department (ED) with non-specific symptoms represents one condition that requires an evidence-informed approach to diagnosis and management of either asymptomatic bacteriuria or urinary tract infection (UTI). The emergency provider often will not have access to urine cultures, and the risks associated with antibiotic use in the elderly are not without potentially significant side effects.

Methods: We performed a historical and clinical review of the growing body of literature suggesting measurable differences in the systemic immune response manifest among patients with asymptomatic pyuria and UTI, including increases in the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 and the acute phase reactant procalcitonin.

Results: Serum procalcitonin, a peptide that undergoes proteolysis into calcitonin, has been demonstrated to quickly and reliably rise in patients with severe bacterial infections, and may serve as a potentially sensitive and specific marker for identification of bacterial illness.

Conclusion: In the absence of validated risk scores for diagnosing UTI in elderly patients presenting to the ED, there may be a role for the use of procalcitonin in this patient population.

Trauma

The Surgical Intervention for Traumatic Injury Scale: A Clinical Tool for Traumatic Brain Injury

Introduction: There is no widely used method for communicating the possible need for surgical intervention in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study describes a scoring system designed to communicate the potential need for surgical decompression in TBI patients. The scoring system, named the Surgical Intervention for Traumatic Injury (SITI), was designed to be objective and easy to use.

Methods: The SITI scale uses radiographic and clinical findings, including the Glasgow Coma Scale Score, pupil examination, and findings noted on computed tomography. To examine the scale, we used the patient database for the Progesterone for the Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury III (ProTECT III) trial, and retrospectively applied the SITI scale to these patients.

Results: Of the 871 patients reviewed, 164 (18.8%) underwent craniotomy or craniectomy, and 707 (81.2%) were treated nonoperatively. The mean SITI score was 5.1 for patients who underwent surgery and 2.5 for patients treated nonoperatively (P<0.001). The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.887.

Conclusion: The SITI scale was designed to be a simple, objective, clinical decision tool regarding the potential need for surgical decompression after TBI. Application of the SITI scale to the ProTECT III database demonstrated that a score of 3 or more was well associated with a perceived need for surgical decompression. These results further demonstrate the potential utility of the SITI scale in clinical practice.

Critical Care

Evaluation and Management of Angioedema in the Emergency Department

Angioedema is defined by non-dependent, non-pitting edema that affects several different sites and is potentially life-threatening due to laryngeal edema. This narrative review provides emergency physicians with a focused overview of the evaluation and management of angioedema. Two primary forms include histamine-mediated and bradykinin-mediated angioedema. Histamine-mediated forms present similarly to anaphylaxis, while bradykinin-mediated angioedema presents with greater face and oropharyngeal involvement and higher risk of progression. Initial evaluation and management should focus on evaluation of the airway, followed by obtaining relevant historical features, including family history, medications, and prior episodes. Histamine-mediated angioedema should be treated with epinephrine intramuscularly, antihistaminergic medications, and steroids. These medications are not effective for bradykinin-mediated forms. Other medications include C1-INH protein replacement, kallikrein inhibitor, and bradykinin receptor antagonists. Evidence is controversial concerning the efficacy of these medications in an acute episode, and airway management is the most important intervention when indicated. Airway intervention may require fiberoptic or video laryngoscopy, with preparation for cricothyrotomy. Disposition is dependent on patient’s airway and respiratory status, as well as the sites involved.

 

Skill Proficiency is Predicted by Intubation Frequency of Emergency Medicine Attending Physicians

Introduction: Airway management is a fundamental skill of emergency medicine (EM) practice, and suboptimal management leads to poor outcomes. Endotracheal intubation (ETI) is a procedure that is specifically taught in residency, but little is known how best to maintain proficiency in this skill throughout the practitioner’s career. The goal of this study was to identify how the frequency of intubation correlated with measured performance.

Methods: We assessed 44 emergency physicians for proficiency at ETI by direct laryngoscopy on a simulator. The electronic health record was then queried to obtain their average number of annual ETIs and the time since their last ETI, supervised and individually performed, over a two-year period. We evaluated the strength of correlation between these factors and assessment scores, and then conducted a receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curve analysis to identify factors that predicted proficient performance.

Results: The mean score was 81% (95% confidence interval, 76% - 86%). Scores correlated well with the mean number of ETIs performed annually and with the mean number supervised annually (r = 0.6, p = 0.001 for both). ROC curve analysis identified that physicians would obtain a proficient score if they had performed an average of at least three ETIs annually (sensitivity = 90%, specificity = 64%, AUC = 0.87, p = 0.001) or supervised an average of at least five ETIs annually (sensitivity = 90%, specificity = 59%, AUC = 0.81, p = 0.006) over the previous two years.

Conclusion: Performing at least three or supervising at least five ETIs annually, averaged over a two-year period, predicted proficient performance on a simulation-based skills assessment. We advocate for proactive maintenance and enhancement of skills, particularly for those who infrequently perform this procedure

Improvement in the Safety of Rapid Sequence Intubation in the Emergency Department with the Use of an Airway Continuous Quality Improvement Program

Introduction: Airway management in the critically ill is associated with a high prevalence of failed first attempts and adverse events which negatively impacts patient care. The purpose of this investigation is to describe an airway continuous quality improvement (CQI) program and its effect on the safety of rapid sequence intubation (RSI) in the emergency department (ED) over a 10-year period.

Methods: An airway CQI program with an ongoing airway registry was initiated in our ED on July 1, 2007 (Academic Year 1) and continued through June 30, 2017 (Academic Year 10). Data were prospectively collected on all patients intubated in the ED during this period using a structured airway data collection form. Key data points included method of intubation, drugs and devices used for intubation, operator specialty and level of training, number of intubation attempts, and adverse events. Adult patients who underwent RSI in the ED with an initial intubation attempt by emergency medicine (EM) resident were included in the analysis. The primary outcome was first pass success which was defined as successful tracheal intubation with a single laryngoscope insertion. The secondary outcome was the prevalence of adverse events associated with intubation. Educational and clinical interventions were introduced throughout the study period with the goal of optimizing these outcomes. Data were analyzed by academic year and are reported descriptively with 95% confidence intervals (CI) of the difference of means.

Results: EM residents performed RSI on 342 adult patients during Academic Year 1 and on 445 adult patients during Academic Year 10. Over the 10-year study period, first pass success increased from 73.1% to 92.4% (difference = 19.3%, 95% CI 14.0% to 24.6%). The percentage of patients who experienced an adverse event associated with intubation decreased from 22.5% to 14.4% (difference = -7.9%, 95% CI -13.4% to -2.4%). The percentage of patients with first pass success without an adverse event increased from 64.0% to 80.9% (difference = 16.9%, 95% CI 10.6% to 23.1%).

Conclusion: The use of an airway CQI program with an ongoing airway registry resulted in a substantial improvement in the overall safety of RSI in the ED as evidenced by an increase in first pass success and a decrease in adverse events.

  • 1 supplemental PDF

Health Outcomes

Thromboembolic Risk of 4 Factor Prothrombin Complex Concentrate versus Fresh Frozen Plasma for Urgent Warfarin Reversal in the Emergency Department

Introduction: Warfarin is a potent anticoagulant used for the prevention and treatment of venous and arterial thrombosis. Occasionally, patients require emergent warfarin reversal due to active bleeding, supratherapeutic international normalized ratio, or emergent diagnostic or therapeutic interventions. Various agents can be used for emergent warfarin reversal, including fresh frozen plasma (FFP) and 4-factor prothrombin complex concentrate (4F-PCC). Both FFP and 4F-PCC are generally considered safe; however, both agents contain coagulation factors and have the potential to provoke a thromboembolic event. Although clinical trials have compared the efficacy and safety of FFP and 4F-PCC, data are limited comparing the risk of thromboembolism between the two agents.

Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed at a single, urban, academic medical center comparing the incidence of thromboembolism with FFP or 4F-PCC for warfarin reversal during a three-year period in the emergency department (ED) at Massachusetts General Hospital. Patients were included in the study if they were at least 18 years of age and were on warfarin per electronic health records. Patients were excluded if they had received both FFP and 4F-PCC during the same visit. The primary outcome was the frequency of thromboembolism within 30 days of 4F-PCC or FFP. Secondary outcomes included time to thromboembolic event and in-hospital mortality.

Results: Three hundred and thirty-six patients met the inclusion criteria. Thromboembolic events within 30 days of therapy occurred in seven patients (2.7%) in the FFP group and 14 patients (17.7%) in the 4F-PCC group (p=<0.001). Death occurred in 39 patients (15.2%) who received FFP and 18 patients (22.8%) who received 4F-PCC (p=0.115). Since the 4F-PCC group was treated disproportionately for central nervous system (CNS) bleeding, a subgroup analysis was performed including patients requiring reversal due to CNS bleeds that received vitamin K. The primary outcome remained statistically significant, occurring in four patients (4.1%) in the FFP group and nine patients (14.1%) in the 4F-PCC group (p=0.02).

Conclusion: Our study found a significantly higher risk of thromboembolic events in patients receiving 4F-PCC compared to FFP for urgent warfarin reversal. This difference remained statistically significant when controlled for CNS bleeds and administration of vitamin K.

 

Radiograph Interpretation Discrepancies in a Community Hospital Emergency Department

Introduction: In many hospitals, off-hours emergency department (ED) radiographs are not read by a radiologist until the following morning and are instead interpreted by the emergency physician (EP) at the time of service. Studies have found conflicting results regarding the radiographic interpretation discrepancies between EPs and trained radiologists. The aim of this study was to identify the number of radiologic interpretation discrepancies between EPs and radiologists in a community ED setting.

Methods: Using a pre-existing logbook of radiologic discrepancies as well as our institution’s picture archiving and communication system, all off-hours interpretation discrepancies between January 2012 and January 2015 were reviewed and recorded in a de-identified fashion. We recorded the type of radiograph obtained for each patient. Discrepancy grades were recorded based on a pre-existing 1-4 scale defined in the institution’s protocol logbook as Grade 1 (no further action needed); Grade 2 (call to the patient or pharmacy); Grade 3 (return to ED for further treatment, e.g., fracture not splinted); Grade 4 (return to ED for serious risk, e.g., pneumothorax, bowel obstruction). We also recorded the total number of radiographs formally interpreted by EPs during the prescribed time-frame to determine overall agreement between EPs and radiologists.

Results: There were 1044 discrepancies out of 16,111 EP reads, indicating 93.5% agreement.  Patients averaged 48.4 ± 25.0 years of age and 53.3% were female; 25.1% were over-calls by EPs. The majority of discrepancies were minor with 75.8% Grade 1 and 22.3% Grade 2. Only 1.7% were Grade 3, which required return to the ED for further treatment. A small number of discrepancies, 0.2%, were Grade 4. Grade 4 discrepancies accounted for two of the 16,111 total reads, equivalent to 0.01%. A slight disagreement in finding between EP and radiologist accounted for 8.3% of discrepancies.

Conclusion:Results suggest that plain radiographic studies can be interpreted by EPs with a very low incidence of clinically significant discrepancies when compared to the radiologist interpretation. Due to rare though significant discrepancies, radiologist interpretation should be performed when available. Further studies are needed to determine the generalizability of this study to EDs with differing volume, patient population, acuity, and physician training.

Modification of the Emergency Severity Index Improves Mortality Prediction in Older Patients

Introduction: Older patients frequently present to the emergency department (ED) with nonspecific complaints (NSC), such as generalized weakness. They are at risk of adverse outcomes, and early risk stratification is crucial. Triage using Emergency Severity Index (ESI) is reliable and valid, but older patients are prone to undertriage, most often at decision point D. The aim of this study was to assess the predictive power of additional clinical parameters in NSC patients.

Methods: Baseline demographics, vital signs, and deterioration of activity of daily living (ADL) in patients with NSC were prospectively assessed at four EDs. Physicians scored the coherence of history and their first impression. For prediction of 30-day mortality, we combined vital signs at decision point D (heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation) as “ESI vital,” and added “ADL deterioration,” “incoherence of history,” or “first impression,” using logistic regression models.

Results: We included 948 patients with a median age of 81 years, 62% of whom were female. The baseline parameters at decision point D (ESI vital) showed an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.64 for predicting 30-day mortality in NSC patients. AUCs increased to 0.67 by adding ADL deterioration to 0.66 by adding incoherence of history, and to 0.71 by adding first impression. Maximal AUC was 0.73, combining all parameters.

Conclusion: Adding the physicians’ first impressions to vital signs at decision point D increases predictive power of 30-day mortality significantly. Therefore, a modified ESI could improve predictive power of triage in older patients presenting with NSCs.

  • 1 supplemental file

Education

We Need Our Village: CORD’s Response to the ACGME’s Common Program Requirements

This editorial addresses concerns of program directors that the new program requirements by the ACGME will adversely affect emergency medicine faculty and resident training.  In this editorial, we address the specific concerns of program directors in emergency medicine.

Is National Resident Matching Program Rank Predictive of Resident Performance or Post-graduation Achievement? 10 Years at One Emergency Medicine Residency

Introduction: Each year residency programs expend considerable effort ranking applicants for the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). We explored the relationship between residents’ NRMP rank list position as generated at our institution and their performance in residency and post-graduation to determine whether such efforts are justified.

Methods: Faculty who were present for the 10 consecutive study years at an allopathic emergency medicine residency retrospectively evaluated residents on their overall performance, medical knowledge, and interpersonal skills. Residency graduates were surveyed regarding their current position, hours of clinical practice, academic, teaching and leadership roles, and publications. We compared match position to performance using graphical techniques as the primary form of analysis.

Results: Ten faculty evaluated the 107 residents who graduated from the program during these 10 years by class year. Eighty-four residents responded to the survey. In general, we found little correlation between NRMP rank and faculty rank of resident performance. There was also little correlation between position in the NRMP rank list and the probability of having an academic career, publishing research, or having a teaching or leadership role.

Conclusion: We found that the position on our NRMP rank list was of little value in predicting which residents would do best in residency or take on academic or leadership roles once graduated. Residencies should evaluate the processes they use to generate their rank list to determine whether the ranking process is sufficiently predictive to warrant the effort expended.

  • 2 supplemental files

Emergency Department Operations

SurgeCon: Priming a Community Emergency Department for Patient Flow Management

Introduction: Canadian emergency departments (ED) are struggling to provide timely emergency care. Very few studies have assessed attempts to improve ED patient flow in the rural context. We assessed the impact of SurgeCon, an ED patient-management protocol, on total patient visits, patients who left without being seen (LWBS), length of stay for departed patients (LOSDep), and physician initial assessment time (PIA) in a rural community hospital ED.

Methods: We implemented a set of commonly used methods for increasing ED efficiency with an innovative approach over 45 months. Our intervention involved seven parts comprised of an external review, Lean training, fast track implementation, patient-centeredness approach, door-to-doctor approach, performance reporting, and an action-based surge capacity protocol. We measured key performance indicators including total patient visits (count), PIA (minutes), LWBS (percentage), and LOSDep (minutes) before and after the SurgeCon intervention. We also performed an interrupted time series (ITS) analysis.

Results: During the study period, 80,709 people visited the ED. PIA decreased from 104.3 (±9.9) minutes to 42.2 (±8.1) minutes, LOSDep decreased from 199.4 (±16.8) minutes to 134.4(±14.5) minutes, and LWBS decreased from 12.1% (±2.2) to 4.6% (±1.7) despite a 25.7% increase in patient volume between pre-intervention and post-intervention stages. The ITS analysis revealed a significant level change in PIA – 19.8 minutes (p<0.01), and LWBS – 3.8% (0.02), respectively. The change over time decreased by 2.7 minutes/month (p< 0.001), 3.0 minutes/month (p<0.001) and 0.4%/month (p<0.001) for PIA, LOSDep, and LWBS, after the intervention.

Conclusion: SurgeCon improved the key wait-time metrics in a rural ED in a country where average wait times continue to rise. The SurgeCon platform has the potential to improve ED efficiency in community hospitals with limited resources.

  • 2 supplemental files

Decreasing the Lag Between Result Availability and Decision-Making in the Emergency Department Using Push Notifications

Introduction: Emergency department (ED) patient care often hinges on the result of a diagnostic test. Frequently there is a lag time between a test result becoming available for review and physician decision-making or disposition based on that result. We implemented a system that electronically alerts ED providers when test results are available for review via a smartphone- and smartwatch- push notification. We hypothesized this would reduce the time from result to clinical decision-making.

Methods: We retrospectively assessed the impact of the implementation of a push notification system at three EDs on time-to-disposition or time-to-follow-up order in six clinical scenarios of interest: chest radiograph (CXR) to disposition, basic metabolic panel (BMP) to disposition, urinalysis (UA) to disposition, respiratory pathogen panel (RPP) to disposition, hemoglobin (Hb) to blood transfusion order, and abnormal D-dimer to computed tomography pulmonary angiography (CTPA) order. All ED patients during a one-year period of push-notification availability were included in the study. The primary outcome was median time in each scenario from result availability to either disposition order or defined follow-up order. The secondary outcome was the overall usage rate of the opt-in push notification system by providers.

Results: During the study period there were 6115 push notifications from 4183 ED encounters (2.7% of all encounters). Of the six clinical scenarios examined in this study, five were associated with a decrease in median time from test result availability to patient disposition or follow-up order when push notifications were employed: CXR to disposition, 80 minutes (interquartile range [IQR] 32-162 minutes) vs 56 minutes (IQR 18-141 minutes), difference 24 minutes (p<0.01); BMP to disposition, 128 minutes (IQR 62-225 minutes) vs 116 minutes (IQR 33-226 minutes), difference 12 minutes (p<0.01); UA to disposition, 105 minutes (IQR 43-200 minutes) vs 55 minutes (IQR 16-144 minutes), difference 50 minutes (p<0.01); RPP to disposition, 80 minutes (IQR 28-181 minutes) vs 37 minutes (IQR 10-116 minutes), difference 43 minutes (p<0.01); and D-dimer to CTPA, 14 minutes (IQR 6-30 minutes) vs 6 minutes (IQR 2.5-17.5 minutes), difference 8 minutes (p<0.01). The sixth scenario, Hb to blood transfusion (difference 19 minutes, p=0.73), did not meet statistical significance.

Conclusion: Implementation of a push notification system for test result availability in the ED was associated with a decrease in lag time between test result and physician decision-making in the examined clinical scenarios. Push notifications were used in only a minority of ED patient encounters.

 

Transportation Preferences of Patients Discharged from the Emergency Department in the Era of Ridesharing Apps

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.

  • 1 supplemental file

Impact of Emergency Department Phlebotomists on Left-Before-Treatment-Completion Rates

Introduction: The emergency department (ED) serves as the primary access point to the healthcare system. ED throughput efficiency is critical. The percentage of patients who leave before treatment completion (LBTC) is an important marker of department efficiency. Our study aimed to assess the impact of an ED phlebotomist, dedicated to obtaining blood specimen collection on waiting patients, on LBTC rates.

Methods: This study was conducted as a retrospective observational analysis over approximately 18 months (October 5, 2015-March 31, 2017) for patients evaluated by a triage provider with a door-to-room (DtR) time of > 20 minutes (min). LBTC rates were compared in 10-min DtR increments for when the ED phlebotomist collected the patient’s specimen vs not.

Results: Of 71,942 patient encounters occurring during the study period, 17,349 (24.1%) met study inclusion criteria. Of these, 1842 (10.6%) had blood specimen collection performed by ED phlebotomy. The overall LBTC rate for encounters included in the analysis was 5.26% (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.94%-5.60%). Weighting the LBTC rates for each 10-min DtR interval using the fixed effects model led to an overall LBTC rate of 2.74% (95% CI, 2.09%-3.59%) for patient encounters with ED phlebotomist collection vs 5.31% (95% CI, 4.97%-5.67%) in those which did not, yielding a relative reduction of 48% (95% CI, 34%-63%). The effect of the phlebotomist on LBTC rates increased as DtR times increased. The difference in the rate of the rise of LBTC percentages, per 10-min interval, was 0.50% (95% CI, 0.19%-0.81%) higher for non-ED phlebotomist encounters vs phlebotomist encounters.

Conclusion: ED phlebotomy demonstrated a significant reduction in ED LBTC rates. Further, as DtR times increased, the impact of ED phlebotomy became increasingly significant. Adult EDs with increased rates of LBTC patient encounters may want to consider the implementation of ED phlebotomy.

Erratum (Staff Only)

This Article Corrects: “Best Practices for Evaluation and Treatment of Agitated Children and Adolescents (BETA) in the Emergency Department: Consensus Statement of the American Association for Emergency Psychiatry”

Introduction: Agitation in children and adolescents in the emergency department (ED) can be dangerousand distressing for patients, family and staff. We present consensus guidelines for management ofagitation among pediatric patients in the ED, including non-pharmacologic methods and the use ofimmediate and as-needed medications.

Methods: Using the Delphi method of consensus, a workgroup comprised of 17 experts in emergencychild and adolescent psychiatry and psychopharmacology from the the American Association forEmergency Psychiatry and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Emergency ChildPsychiatry Committee sought to create consensus guidelines for the management of acute agitation inchildren and adolescents in the ED.

Results: Consensus found that there should be a multimodal approach to managing agitation in theED, and that etiology of agitation should drive choice of treatment. We describe general and specificrecommendations for medication use.

Conclusion: These guidelines describing child and adolescent psychiatry expert consensus for themanagement of agitation in the ED may be of use to pediatricians and emergency physicians who arewithout immediate access to psychiatry consultation.