Article

Identification of 90% of patients ultimately diagnosed with community-acquired pneumonia within four hours of emergency department arrival may not be feasible

Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States
Annals of emergency medicine (Impact Factor: 4.33). 06/2007; 49(5):553-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2006.11.008
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We determine whether it is feasible to identify 90% of emergency department (ED) patients who subsequently receive a hospital discharge diagnosis of community-acquired pneumonia using the current Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)/Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) community-acquired pneumonia core measures criteria.
This was a retrospective case series in a university tertiary care ED. From a random sample of patients discharged from the hospital between January and December 2005 who were eligible for JCAHO/CMS community-acquired pneumonia antibiotic timing measure PN-5b, we identified the proportion of patients admitted through the ED who received antibiotics more than 4 hours after hospital arrival (outliers). Medical records of outliers were reviewed to determine whether they received a final ED community-acquired pneumonia diagnosis. Presenting characteristics of outliers with and without final ED community-acquired pneumonia diagnoses were compared to determine feature(s) that might explain failure to diagnose community-acquired pneumonia in the ED.
Of 152 eligible ED community-acquired pneumonia patients, 53 (34.9%) were identified as outliers. Thirty-one of the outliers did not have a final ED community-acquired pneumonia diagnosis. Thus, at least 20.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] 14.3% to 27.7%) of all ED community-acquired pneumonia patients did not have an ED community-acquired pneumonia diagnosis. Of outliers without an ED community-acquired pneumonia diagnosis, 43.3% had an abnormal chest radiograph compared with 95% with an ED community-acquired pneumonia diagnosis (odds ratio 24.8; 95% CI 3.63 to infinity).
It may not be possible to identify 90% of hospitalized patients with a discharge diagnosis of community-acquired pneumonia during their ED assessment by using the current JCAHO/CMS criteria. It may therefore be unrealistic to expect that 90% of such patients will have antibiotics delivered within 4 hours of hospital presentation. A more realistic performance standard for antibiotic administration should be established or case definitions modified to include only patients with a final ED community-acquired pneumonia diagnosis or objective clinical and radiographic evidence.

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