[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We documented emergency department (ED) visits for nontraumatic dental problems and identified strategies to reduce ED dental visits.
We used mixed methods to analyze claims in 2010 from a purposive sample of 25 Oregon hospitals and Oregon's All Payer All Claims data set and interviewed 51 ED dental visitors and stakeholders from 6 communities.
Dental visits accounted for 2.5% of ED visits and represented the second-most-common discharge diagnosis in adults aged 20 to 39 years, were associated with being uninsured (odds ratio [OR] = 5.2 [reference: commercial insurance]; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 4.8, 5.5) or having Medicaid insurance (OR = 4.0; 95% CI = 3.7, 4.2), resulted in opioid (56%) and antibiotic (56%) prescriptions, and generated $402 (95% CI = $396, $408) in hospital costs per visit. Interviews revealed health system, community, provider, and patient contributors to ED dental visits. Potential solutions provided by interviewees included Medicaid benefit expansion, care coordination, water fluoridation, and patient education.
Emergency department dental visits are a significant and costly public health problem for vulnerable individuals. Future efforts should focus on implementing multilevel interventions to reduce ED dental visits. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print March 19, 2015: e1-e9. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302398).
American Journal of Public Health 03/2015; 105(5):e1-e9. DOI:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302398 · 4.55 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Syncope is a common and challenging presenting complaint to the emergency department (ED). Despite substantial research efforts, there is still considerable uncertainty about the optimal ED management of syncope. There is continued interest among clinicians and researchers in improving diagnostic algorithms and optimizing resource utilization. In this paper, we discuss four strategies to improve the emergency care of syncope patients: (1) development of accurate and consistent risk-stratification, (2) increased use of syncope observation protocols, (3) evaluation of a discharge with ambulatory monitoring pathway, and (4) use of shared decision-making for disposition decisions. Since current risk-stratification tools have fallen short with regard to subsequent validation and implementation in to clinical practice, we outline key factors for future risk-stratification research. We propose that observation units have the potential to safely decrease length-of-stay and hospital costs for hemodynamically stable, intermediate risk patients without adversely affecting clinical outcomes. For appropriate patients with a negative ED evaluation, we recommend consideration of direct discharge, with ambulatory monitoring and expedited follow-up, as a means of decreasing costs and reducing iatrogenic harms. Finally, we advocate for the use of shared decision-making regarding the ultimate disposition of select, intermediate risk patients who have not had a serious condition revealed in the ED. If properly implemented, these four strategies could significantly improve the care of ED syncope patients by helping clinicians identify truly high-risk patients, decreasing unnecessary hospitalizations and increasing patient satisfaction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Emergency department (ED) crowding has been identified as a major threat to public health. Objectives: We assessed patient transit times and ED system crowding measures based on their associations with outcomes. Research Design: Retrospective cohort study. Subjects: We accessed electronic health record data on 136,740 adults with a visit to any of 13 health system EDs from January 2008 to December 2010. Measures: Patient transit times (waiting, evaluation and treatment, boarding) and ED system crowding [nonindex patient length-of-stay (LOS) and boarding, bed occupancy] were determined. Outcomes included individual inpatient mortality and admission LOS. Covariates included demographic characteristics, past comorbidities, severity of illness, arrival time, and admission diagnoses. Results: No patient transit time or ED system crowding measure predicted increased mortality after control for patient characteristics. Index patient boarding time and lower bed occupancy were associated with admission LOS (based on nonoverlapping 95% CI vs. the median value). As boarding time increased from none to 14 hours, admission LOS increased an additional 6 hours. As mean occupancy decreased below the median (80% occupancy), admission LOS decreased as much as 9 hours. Conclusions: Measures indicating crowded ED conditions were not predictive of mortality after case-mix adjustment. The first half-day of boarding added to admission LOS rather than substituted for it. Our findings support the use of boarding time as a measure of ED crowding based on robust prediction of admission LOS. Interpretation of measures based on other patient ED transit times may be limited to the timeliness of care. Copyright
Medical Care 07/2014; 52(7):602-11. DOI:10.1097/MLR.0000000000000141 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Study objectives:
There is limited evidence to guide the emergency department (ED) evaluation and management of syncope. The First International Workshop on Syncope Risk Stratification in the Emergency Department identified key research questions and methodological standards essential to advancing the science of ED-based syncope research.
We recruited a multinational panel of syncope experts. A preconference survey identified research priorities, which were refined during and after the conference through an iterative review process.
There were 31 participants from 7 countries who represented 10 clinical and methodological specialties. High-priority research recommendations were organized around a conceptual model of ED decisionmaking for syncope, and they address definition, cohort selection, risk stratification, and management.
We convened a multispecialty group of syncope experts to identify the most pressing knowledge gaps and defined a high-priority research agenda to improve the care of patients with syncope in the ED.
Annals of Emergency Medicine 05/2014; 64(6). DOI:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2014.04.014 · 4.68 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Palpitations is a common complaint in patients who visit the emergency department (ED), with causes ranging from benign to life threatening. We analyzed the ED component of the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey for 2001 through 2010 for visits with a chief complaint of palpitations and calculated nationally representative weighted estimates for prevalence, demographic characteristics, and admission rates. ED and hospital discharge diagnoses were tabulated and categorized, and recursive partitioning was used to identify factors associated with admission. An estimated 684,000 visits had a primary reason for visit of “palpitations” representing a national prevalence of 5.8 per 1,000 ED visits (0.58%, 95% confidence interval 0.52 to 0.64). Women and non-Hispanic whites were responsible for most visits. A cardiac diagnosis made up 34% of all ED diagnoses. The overall admission rate was 24.6% (95% confidence interval 21.2 to 28.1), with higher rates seen in the Midwest and Northeast compared with the West. Survey-weighted recursive partitioning revealed several factors associated with admission including age >50 years, male gender, cardiac ED diagnosis, tachycardia, hypertension, and Medicare insurance. In conclusion, palpitations are responsible for a significant minority of ED visits and are associated with a cardiac diagnosis roughly 1/3 of the time. This was associated with a relatively high admission rate, although significant regional variation in these rates exists.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prior studies of admitted geriatric syncope patients suggest that diagnostic tests affect management < 5% of the time; whether this is true among all emergency department (ED) patients with syncope remains unclear.
To determine the diagnostic yield of routine testing in the hospital or after ED discharge among patients presenting to an ED with syncope.
A prospective, observational, cohort study of consecutive ED patients aged ≥ 18 years presenting with syncope was conducted. The four most commonly utilized tests (echocardiography, telemetry, ambulatory electrocardiography monitoring, and troponin) were studied. Interobserver agreement as to whether test results determined the etiology of the syncope was measured using kappa (κ) values.
Of 570 patients with syncope, 73 patients (8%; 95% confidence interval 7-10%) had studies that were diagnostic. One hundred fifty (26%) had echocardiography, with 33 (22%) demonstrating a likely etiology of the syncopal event, such as critical valvular disease or significantly depressed left ventricular function (κ = 0.75). On hospitalization, 330 (58%) patients were placed on telemetry, and 19 (3%) had worrisome dysrhythmias (κ = 0.66). There were 317 (55%) patients who had troponin levels drawn, of whom 19 (3%) had positive results (κ = 1); 56 (10%) patients were discharged with monitoring, with significant findings in only 2 (0.4%) patients (κ = 0.65).
Although routine testing is prevalent in ED patients with syncope, the diagnostic yield is relatively low. Nevertheless, some testing, particularly echocardiography, may yield critical findings. Current efforts to reduce the cost of medical care by eliminating nondiagnostic medical testing and increasing emphasis on practicing evidence-based medicine argue for more discriminate testing when evaluating syncope.
Journal of Emergency Medicine 03/2014; 47(1). DOI:10.1016/j.jemermed.2014.01.018 · 0.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Palpitations is a common complaint in patients who visit the emergency department (ED), with causes ranging from benign to life threatening. We analyzed the ED component of the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey for 2001 through 2010 for visits with a chief complaint of palpitations and calculated nationally representative weighted estimates for prevalence, demographic characteristics, and admission rates. ED and hospital discharge diagnoses were tabulated and categorized, and recursive partitioning was used to identify factors associated with admission. An estimated 684,000 visits had a primary reason for visit of "palpitations" representing a national prevalence of 5.8 per 1,000 ED visits (0.58%, 95% confidence interval 0.52 to 0.64). Women and non-Hispanic whites were responsible for most visits. A cardiac diagnosis made up 34% of all ED diagnoses. The overall admission rate was 24.6% (95% confidence interval 21.2 to 28.1), with higher rates seen in the Midwest and Northeast compared with the West. Survey-weighted recursive partitioning revealed several factors associated with admission including age >50 years, male gender, cardiac ED diagnosis, tachycardia, hypertension, and Medicare insurance. In conclusion, palpitations are responsible for a significant minority of ED visits and are associated with a cardiac diagnosis roughly 1/3 of the time. This was associated with a relatively high admission rate, although significant regional variation in these rates exists.
The American journal of cardiology 03/2014; 113(10). DOI:10.1016/j.amjcard.2014.02.020 · 3.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Older adults are frequently hospitalized from the emergency department (ED) after an episode of unexplained syncope. Current admission patterns are costly, with little evidence of benefit. We hypothesize that an ED observation syncope protocol will reduce resource use without adversely affecting patient-oriented outcomes.
This randomized trial at 5 EDs compared an ED observation syncope protocol to inpatient admission for intermediate-risk adults (≥50 years) presenting with syncope or near syncope. Primary outcomes included inpatient admission rate and length of stay. Secondary outcomes included 30-day and 6-month serious outcomes after hospital discharge, index and 30-day hospital costs, 30-day quality-of-life scores, and 30-day patient satisfaction.
Study staff randomized 124 patients. Observation resulted in a lower inpatient admission rate (15% versus 92%; 95% confidence interval [CI] difference -88% to -66%) and shorter hospital length of stay (29 versus 47 hours; 95% CI difference -28 to -8). Serious outcome rates after hospital discharge were similar for observation versus admission at 30 days (3% versus 0%; 95% CI difference -1% to 8%) and 6 months (8% versus 10%; 95% CI difference -13% to 9%). Index hospital costs in the observation group were $629 (95% CI difference -$1,376 to -$56) lower than in the admission group. There were no differences in 30-day quality-of-life scores or in patient satisfaction.
An ED observation syncope protocol reduced the primary outcomes of admission rate and hospital length of stay. Analyses of secondary outcomes suggest reduction in index hospital costs, with no difference in safety events, quality of life, or patient satisfaction. Our findings suggest that an ED observation syncope protocol can be replicated and safely reduce resource use.
Annals of emergency medicine 11/2013; 64(2). DOI:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2013.10.029 · 4.68 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Emergency department (ED) crowding is linked with poor quality of care and worse outcomes, including higher mortality. With the growing emphasis on hospital performance measures, there is additional concern whether inadequate care during crowded periods increases a patient's likelihood of subsequent inpatient admission. We sought to determine if ED crowding during the index visit was associated with these "bounceback" admissions.
We used comprehensive, nonpublic, statewide ED and inpatient discharge data from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development from 2007 to identify index outpatient ED visits and bounceback admissions within 7 days. We further used ambulance diversion data collected from California local emergency medical services agencies to identify crowded days using intrahospital daily diversion hour quartiles. Using a hierarchical logistic regression model, we then determined if patients visiting on crowded days were more likely to have a subsequent bounceback admission.
We analyzed 3,368,527 index visits across 202 hospitals, of which 596,471 (17.7%) observations were on crowded days. We found no association between ED crowding and bounceback admissions. This lack of relationship persisted in both a discrete (high/low) model (OR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.99, 1.02) and a secondary model using ambulance diversion hours as a continuous predictor (OR, 1.00; 95% CI, 1.00, 1.00).
Crowding as measured by ambulance diversion does not have an association with hospitalization within 7 days of an ED visit discharge. Therefore, bounceback admission may be a poor measure of delayed or worsened quality of care due to crowding.
Medical care 09/2013; 51(11). DOI:10.1097/MLR.0b013e3182a98310 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Early death after emergency department (ED) discharge may signal opportunities to improve care. Prior studies are limited by incomplete mortality ascertainment and lack of clinically important information in administrative data. The goal in this hypothesis-generating study was to identify patient and process of care themes that may provide possible explanations for early postdischarge mortality.
This was a qualitative analysis of medical records of adult patients who visited the ED of any of six hospitals in an integrated health system (Kaiser Permanente Southern California [KPSC]) and died within 7 days of discharge in 2007 and 2008. Nonmembers, visits to non-health plan hospitals, patients receiving or referred to hospice care, and patients with do not attempt resuscitation or do not intubate orders (DNAR/DNI) were excluded. Under the guidance of two qualitative research scientists, a team of three emergency physicians used grounded theory techniques to identify patient clinical presentations and processes of care that serve as potential explanations for poor outcome after discharge.
The source population consisted of a total of 290,092 members with 446,120 discharges from six KPSC EDs in 2007 and 2008. A total of 203 deaths occurred within 7 days of ED discharge (0.05%). Sixty-one randomly chosen cases were reviewed. Patient-level themes that emerged included an unexplained persistent acute change in mental status, recent fall, abnormal vital signs, ill-appearing presentation, malfunctioning indwelling device, and presenting symptoms remaining at discharge. Process-of-care factors included a discrepancy in history of present illness, incomplete physical examination, and change of discharge plan by a third party, such as a consulting or admitting physician.
In this hypothesis-generating study, qualitative research techniques were used to identify clinical and process-of-care factors in patients who died within days after discharge from an ED. These potential predictors will be formally tested in a future quantitative study.
Academic Emergency Medicine 08/2013; 20(8):778-85. DOI:10.1111/acem.12181 · 2.01 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Syncope is a prevalent condition that is associated with high morbidity, health service use, and costs. Syncope negatively impacts multiple domains of quality-of-life, including physical health, mental health, and functional status. The morbidity associated with recurrent syncope is equivalent to chronic conditions such as severe rheumatoid arthritis and low back pain. Frequency of syncope events is related to worse morbidity, suggesting that effective diagnosis and management can improve quality-of-life. There is a high incidence of health service use associated with syncope, including 740,000 annual emergency department visits and 460,000 hospital admissions in the United States. Rates of admission and inpatient diagnostic testing are characterized by high variance and low clinical utility. Finally, the evaluation of syncope is associated with high costs. Hospital costs associated with the inpatient evaluation of syncope exceed $2.4 billion per year in the United States. Improved diagnostic and treatment algorithms are urgently needed to improve patient quality-of-life, reduce health service use, and lower costs related to the evaluation of syncope.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Study objective:
Hospitalizations that occur shortly after emergency department (ED) discharge may reveal opportunities to improve ED or follow-up care. There currently is limited, population-level information about such events. We identify hospital- and visit-level predictors of bounce-back admissions, defined as 7-day unscheduled hospital admissions after ED discharge.
Using the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development files, we conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of adult (aged >18 years) ED visits resulting in discharge in 2007. Candidate predictors included index hospital structural characteristics such as ownership, teaching affiliation, trauma status, and index ED size, along with index visit patient characteristics of demographic information, day of service, against medical advice or eloped disposition, insurance, and ED primary discharge diagnosis. We fit a multivariable, hierarchic logistic regression to account for clustering of ED visits by hospitals.
The study cohort contained a total of 5,035,833 visits to 288 facilities in 2007. Bounce-back admission within 7 days occurred in 130,526 (2.6%) visits and was associated with Medicaid (odds ratio [OR] 1.42; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.40 to 1.45) or Medicare insurance (OR 1.53; 95% CI 1.50 to 1.55) and a disposition of leaving against medical advice or before the evaluation was complete (OR 1.90; 95% CI 1.89 to 2.0). The 3 most common age-adjusted index ED discharge diagnoses associated with a bounce-back admission were chronic renal disease, not end stage (OR 3.3; 95% CI 2.8 to 3.8), end-stage renal disease (OR 2.9; 95% CI 2.4 to 3.6), and congestive heart failure (OR 2.5; 95% CI 2.3 to 2.6). Hospital characteristics associated with a higher bounce-back admission rate were for-profit status (OR 1.2; 95% CI 1.1 to 1.3) and teaching affiliation (OR 1.2; 95% CI 1.0 to 1.3).
We found 2.6% of discharged patients from California EDs to have a bounce-back admission within 7 days. We identified vulnerable populations, such as the very old and the use of Medicaid insurance, and chronic or end-stage renal disease as being especially at risk. Our findings suggest that quality improvement efforts focus on high-risk individuals and that the disposition plan of patients consider vulnerable populations.
Annals of emergency medicine 02/2013; 62(2). DOI:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2013.01.017 · 4.68 Impact Factor