Errors of omission in the treatment of prehospital chest pain patients
ABSTRACT Despite the widespread use of standard treatment protocols, there are few published data regarding paramedic protocol adherence. In this descriptive study, the authors sought to assess the frequency and nature of deviations from a standardized treatment protocol for the chief complaint of chest pain. They also sought to quantify any time delays in treatment of potential ischemic cardiac chest pain.
A retrospective review of written documentation obtained from four ambulance services in a mid-Atlantic state was completed. A convenience sample of consecutive emergency medical services (EMS) records was obtained from January 2001 to May 2002, and 75 calls were selected from each service (N = 300).
Neither the median scene times nor the response times varied among the four services in the study. However, the suburban ambulance service (service 1) did have a significantly longer transport time (19 minutes) than the rural (14 minutes) and the urban (11 and 10 minutes) services (p < 0.05). Documentation of history and physical characteristics varied widely for each service. The patient took aspirin 10% of the time prior to EMS arrival, yet paramedics gave it additionally 50% of the time, while nitroglycerin was given in 73% of cases of suspected cardiac ischemia. Posttreatment vital signs for nitroglycerin were documented 30% of the time for three of the four services, while the other service documented these 75% of the time. Medical command contact varied by agency (80-100%), as did the receipt and completion of medical orders.
Paramedics may delay transport of patients with potential cardiac ischemia. Deviations from protocol occur frequently and the care documented for prehospital patients with chest pain is variable. The expected care described by written protocols does not correlate with the treatment documented.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Jon C Rittenberger, Sep 26, 2015
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- "Their risk of injury and death is greater than the general public's (Maguire et al. 2005; Maguire et al. 2002; Reichard, and Jackson 2010). Furthermore, medical errors, accidents, and adverse events occur frequently in EMS (Rittenberger, Beck, and Paris 2005; Wang et al. 2008a; Wang et al. 2008b; Wang et al. 2006; Wang et al. 2009). Positive teamwork is associated with reduced errors and improved patient safety in multiple healthcare settings (Kohn, Corrigan, and Donaldson 2000; Lemieux-Charles, and McGuire 2006). "
ABSTRACT: To characterize patterns of Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) partner familiarity in three Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agencies. STUDY DESIGN/DATA SOURCES: We utilized a case study design and retrospective review of administrative data from three EMS agencies and 182 EMTs over 12 months. We used the Kruskal-Wallis test and Bonferroni corrected p-values to compare measures of partner familiarity. Measures included the annual mean number of partners, rate of partners per 10 shifts, mean shifts per EMT, and proportion of shifts worked with same partner. We standardized select measures by size of agency to account for a greater number of possible partnerships in larger agencies. Across all agencies, the mean number of shifts worked annually by EMTs was (mean [SD]) 77.3 (59.8). The unstandardized mean number of EMT partnerships was 19.3 (12.4) and did not vary across EMS agencies after standardizing by agency size (p=.328). The unstandardized mean rate of EMT partnerships for every 10 shifts worked was 4.0 (2.7) and varied across agencies after standardizing (p<.001). The mean proportion of shifts worked with the same partner was 34.8 percent and varied across agencies (p<.001). There was wide variation in select measures of EMT partner familiarity.Health Services Research 02/2011; 46(4):1319-31. DOI:10.1111/j.1475-6773.2011.01241.x · 2.78 Impact Factor
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- "The two systems with the worst compliance treated less than 25% of eligible patients . Rittenberger et al. in 2005 demonstrated "
ABSTRACT: Aspirin (ASA) has unquestioned benefit to patients with cardiac ischemia. Previous studies indicate health care providers may not adequately treat patients experiencing cardiac ischemia with ASA. To determine the rate of ASA use for patients being treated for chest pain suggestive of cardiac ischemia in the prehospital setting. This was a retrospective study of paramedic encounters identified through billing records for all patients receiving the combination of an intravenous catheter, supplemental oxygen, and cardiac monitoring from November 2001 to January 2002. Prehospital medical records were reviewed in order to determine the proportion of patients with suspected cardiac ischemia who received ASA. The setting was a single prehospital emergency medical services system serving an urban population. A total of 2,457 paramedic encounters were reviewed over a three-month period. Two hundred thirty-two patients were assessed as having cardiac ischemia, of whom 169 (73%) had no absolute or relative contraindication to ASA. Of the 169 patients, only 92 (54%) received ASA. Of the 99 patients, who received nitroglycerin for presumed cardiac ischemia and had no contraindication to receiving ASA, only 78 (79%) received ASA. Of the 453 patients complaining of nontraumatic chest pain and without a contraindication, 157 (35%) received ASA. Paramedics do not use ASA optimally and may choose therapies with less proven benefit.Prehospital Emergency Care 01/2005; 9(3):282-4. DOI:10.1080/10903120590962030 · 1.76 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Workplace attitude, beliefs, and culture may impact the safety of patient care. This study characterized perceptions of safety culture in a nationwide sample of emergency medical services (EMS) agencies. We conducted a cross-sectional survey involving 61 advanced life support EMS agencies in North America. We administered a modified version of the Safety Attitudes Questionnaire (SAQ), a survey instrument measuring dimensions of workplace safety culture (Safety Climate, Teamwork Climate, Perceptions of Management, Job Satisfaction, Working Conditions, and Stress Recognition). We included full-time and part-time paramedics and emergency medical technicians. We determined the variation in safety culture scores across EMS agencies. Using hierarchical linear models, we determined associations between safety culture scores and individual and EMS agency characteristics. We received 1,715 completed surveys from 61 EMS agencies (mean agency response rate 47%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 10%, 83%). There was wide variation in safety culture scores across EMS agencies [mean (minimum, maximum)]: Safety Climate 74.5 (min 49.9, max 89.7), Teamwork Climate 71.2 (min 45.1, max 90.1), Perceptions of Management 67.2 (min 31.1, max 92.2), Job Satisfaction 75.4 (min 47.5, max 93.8), Working Conditions 66.9 (min 36.6, max 91.4), and Stress Recognition 55.1 (min 31.3, max 70.6). Air medical EMS agencies tended to score higher across all safety culture domains. Lower safety culture scores were associated with increased annual patient contacts. Safety Climate domain scores were not associated with other individual or EMS agency characteristics. In this sample, workplace safety culture varies between EMS agencies.Prehospital Emergency Care 09/2010; 14(4):448-60. DOI:10.3109/10903127.2010.497900 · 1.76 Impact Factor