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INTRODUCTION - Hospital readmissions within 30 days are a healthcare quality problem associated with increased costs and poor health outcomes. Identifying interventions to improve patients' successful transition from inpatient to outpatient care is a continued challenge.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS - This is a single-centre pragmatic randomised and controlled clinical trial examining the effectiveness of a discharge follow-up phone call to reduce 30-day inpatient readmissions. Our primary endpoint is inpatient readmission within 30 days of hospital discharge censored for death analysed with an intention-to-treat approach. Secondary endpoints included observation status readmission within 30 days, time to readmission, all-cause emergency department revisits within 30 days, patient satisfaction (measured as mean Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems scores) and 30-day mortality. Exploratory endpoints include the need for assistance with discharge plan implementation among those randomised to the intervention arm and reached by the study nurse, and the number of call attempts to achieve successful intervention delivery. Consistent with the Learning Healthcare System model for clinical research, timeliness is a critical quality for studies to most effectively inform hospital clinical practice. We are challenged to apply pragmatic design elements in order to maintain a high-quality practicable study providing timely results. This type of prospective pragmatic trial empowers the advancement of hospital-wide evidence-based practice directly affecting patients.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION - Study results will inform the structure, objective and function of future iterations of the hospital's discharge follow-up phone call programme and be submitted for publication in the literature.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER - NCT03050918; Pre-results.
© Article author(s) (or their employer(s) unless otherwise stated in the text of the article) 2018. All rights reserved. No commercial use is permitted unless otherwise expressly granted.
Importance - Low health literacy is known to adversely affect health outcomes in patients with chronic medical conditions. To our knowledge, the association of health literacy with postoperative outcomes has not been studied in-depth in a surgical patient population.
Objective - To evaluate the association of health literacy with postoperative outcomes in patients undergoing major abdominal surgery.
Design, Setting, and Participants - From November 2010 to December 2013, 1239 patients who were undergoing elective gastric, colorectal, hepatic, and pancreatic resections for both benign and malignant disease at a single academic institution were retrospectively reviewed. Patient demographics, education, insurance status, procedure type, American Society of Anesthesiologists status, Charlson comorbidity index, and postoperative outcomes, including length of stay, emergency department visits, and hospital readmissions, were reviewed from electronic medical records. Health literacy levels were assessed using the Brief Health Literacy Screen, a validated tool that was administered by nursing staff members on hospital admission. Multivariate analysis was used to determine the association of health literacy levels on postoperative outcomes, controlling for patient demographics and clinical characteristics.
Main Outcomes and Measures - The association of health literacy with postoperative 30-day emergency department visits, 90-day hospital readmissions, and index hospitalization length of stay.
Results - Of the 1239 patients who participated in this study, 624 (50.4%) were women, 1083 (87.4%) where white, 96 (7.7%) were black, and 60 (4.8%) were of other race/ethnicity. The mean (SD) Brief Health Literacy Screen score was 12.9 (SD, 2.75; range, 3-15) and the median educational attainment was 13.0 years. Patients with lower health literacy levels had a longer length of stay in unadjusted (95% CI, 0.95-0.99; P = .004) and adjusted (95% CI, 0.03-0.26; P = .02) analyses. However, lower health literacy was not significantly associated with increased rates of 30-day emergency department visits or 90-day hospital readmissions.
Conclusions and Relevance - Lower health literacy levels are independently associated with longer index hospitalization lengths of stay for patients who are undergoing major abdominal surgery. The role of health literacy needs to be further evaluated within surgical practices to improve health care outcomes and use.
Elevated blood pressure (BP) is common in the emergency department (ED), but the relationship between antihypertensive medication adherence and BP in the ED is unclear. This cross-sectional study tested the hypothesis that higher antihypertensive adherence is associated with lower systolic BP (SBP) in the ED among adults with hypertension who sought ED care at an academic hospital from July 2012 to April 2013. Biochemical assessment of antihypertensive adherence was performed using a mass spectrometry blood assay, and the primary outcome was average ED SBP. Analyses were stratified by number of prescribed antihypertensives (<3, ≥3) and adjusted for age, sex, race, insurance, literacy, numeracy, education, body mass index, and comorbidities. Among 85 patients prescribed ≥3 antihypertensives, mean SBP for adherent patients was 134.4 mm Hg (±26.1 mm Hg), and in adjusted analysis was -20.8 mm Hg (95% confidence interval, -34.2 to -7.4 mm Hg; =0.003) different from nonadherent patients. Among 176 patients prescribed <3 antihypertensives, mean SBP was 135.5 mm Hg (±20.6 mm Hg) for adherent patients, with no difference by adherence in adjusted analysis (+2.9 mm Hg; 95% confidence interval, -4.7 to 10.5 mm Hg; =0.45). Antihypertensive nonadherence identified by biochemical assessment was common and associated with higher SBP in the ED among patients who had a primary care provider and health insurance and who were prescribed ≥3 antihypertensives. Biochemical assessment of antihypertensives could help distinguish medication nonadherence from other contributors to elevated BP and identify target populations for intervention.
© 2017 American Heart Association, Inc.
BACKGROUND - Readmission to the hospital within 30 days is a measure of quality care; however, only few modifiable risk factors for 30-day readmission in adults with sickle cell disease are known.
METHODS - We performed a retrospective review of the medical records of adults with sickle cell disease at a tertiary care center, to identify potentially modifiable risk factors for 30-day readmission due to vasoocclusive pain episodes. A total of 88 patients ≥18 years of age were followed for 3.5 years between 2010 and 2013, for 158 first admissions for vasoocclusive pain episodes. Of these, those subsequently readmitted (cases) or not readmitted (controls) within 30 days of their index admissions were identified. Seven risk factors were included in a multivariable model to predict readmission: age, sex, hemoglobin phenotype, median oxygen saturation level, listing of primary care provider, type of health insurance, and number of hospitalized vasoocclusive pain episodes in the prior year.
RESULTS - Mean age at admission was 31.7 (18-59) years; median time to readmission was 11 days (interquartile range 20 days). Absence of a primary care provider listed in the electronic medical record (odds ratio 0.38; 95% confidence interval, 0.16-0.91; P = .030) and the number of vasoocclusive pain episodes requiring hospitalization in the prior year were significant risk factors for 30-day readmission (odds ratio 1.30; 95% confidence interval, 1.16-1.44; P <.001).
CONCLUSION - Improved discharge planning and ensuring access to a primary care provider may decrease the 30-day readmission rate in adults with sickle cell disease.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - The incidence of hypertensive emergency in US emergency departments (ED) is not well established.
METHODS AND RESULTS - This study is a descriptive epidemiological analysis of nationally representative ED visit-level data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample for 2006-2013. Nationwide Emergency Department Sample is a publicly available database maintained by the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. An ED visit was considered to be a hypertensive emergency if it met all the following criteria: diagnosis of acute hypertension, at least 1 diagnosis indicating acute target organ damage, and qualifying disposition (admission to the hospital, death, or transfer to another facility). The incidence of adult ED visits for acute hypertension increased monotonically in the period from 2006 through 2013, from 170 340 (1820 per million adult ED visits overall) to 496 894 (4610 per million). Hypertensive emergency was rare overall, accounting for 63 406 visits (677 per million adult ED visits overall) in 2006 to 176 769 visits (1670 per million) in 2013. Among adult ED visits that had any diagnosis of hypertension, hypertensive emergency accounted for 3309 per million in 2006 and 6178 per million in 2013.
CONCLUSIONS - The estimated number of visits for hypertensive emergency and the rate per million adult ED visits has more than doubled from 2006 to 2013. However, hypertensive emergencies are rare overall, occurring in about 2 in 1000 adult ED visits overall, and 6 in 1000 adult ED visits carrying any diagnosis of hypertension in 2013. This figure is far lower than what has been sometimes cited in previous literature.
© 2016 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley Blackwell.
Uncontrolled hypertension (HTN) is commonly encountered in emergency medicine practice, but the optimal approach to management has not been delineated. The objective of this study was to define emergency physician (EP) approaches to management of asymptomatic HTN in various clinical scenarios and assess adherence to the American College of Emergency Physician clinical policies, utilizing an online survey of EPs. A total of 1200 surveys were distributed by e-mail with completion by 199 participants. The variables associated with a decision to prescribe oral antihypertensive medications were a history of HTN and referral from primary care. Acute blood pressure (BP) reduction using intravenous antihypertensive medications was also more likely with the latter and BP >180/120 mm Hg. Logistic regression revealed association of EP female sex, fewer years in practice, and a high-volume practice setting with guideline-concordant therapy. Wide variability exists in EP approaches to patients with asymptomatic HTN. Treatment decisions were impacted by patient history of chronic HTN, referral from primary care providers, and magnitude of BP elevation.
©2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Although studies suggest that patients with limited health literacy and/or low numeracy skills may stand to gain the most from shared decision making (SDM), the impact of these conditions on the effective implementation of SDM in the emergency department (ED) is not well understood. In this article from the proceedings of the 2016 Academic Emergency Medicine Consensus Conference on Shared Decision Making in the Emergency Department we discuss knowledge gaps identified and propose consensus-driven research priorities to help guide future work to improve SDM for this patient population in the ED.
© 2016 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.
BACKGROUND - The Rural Trauma Team Development Course (RTTDC) is designed to teach knowledge and skills for the initial assessment and stabilization of trauma patients in resource-limited environments. The effect of RTTDC training on transfers from nontrauma centers to definitive care has not been studied. We hypothesized that RTTDC training would decrease referring hospital emergency department (ED) length of stay (LOS), time to call for transfer, pretransfer computed tomography (CT) imaging rate, and mortality rate.
METHODS - We conducted a pre/post analysis of trauma patients who were transferred from rural, nontrauma hospitals from 2012 to 2014. Patients from six rural hospitals that participated in an RTTDC course were compared with a control group of similar centers that did not participate in the course. Primary outcome evaluated was referring hospital ED LOS, which was estimated using a difference-in-differences regression model. Secondary outcomes were time to transfer call, pretransfer CT imaging rates, and mortality.
RESULTS - Two hundred fifty-three patients were available for study (RTTDC group, n = 130; control group, n = 123). Demographics, CT imaging, and mortality rates were similar between the two groups. In the primary outcome, the RTTDC group experienced an overall 61-minute reduction in referring hospital LOS (p = 0.02) compared with the control group. The RTTDC group also showed a 41-minute reduction (p = 0.03) in time to call for transfer compared with controls. There were no differences in the secondary outcomes of pretransfer CT scanning rates or mortality.
CONCLUSIONS - Rural Trauma Team Development Course training shortens ED LOS at rural, nontrauma hospitals by more than 1 hour without increasing mortality. Future educational and research efforts should focus on decreasing unnecessary imaging prior to transfer as well as opportunities to improve mortality rates. This study suggests an important role for RTTDC training in the care of rural trauma patients and may allow trauma centers to recapture the "golden hour" for transferred trauma patients.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE - Therapeutic/care management study, level III.
OBJECTIVE - Ultrasound-guided intravenous catheter (USGIV) insertion is increasingly being used for administration of intravenous (IV) contrast for computed tomography (CT) scans. The goal of this investigation was to evaluate the risk of contrast extravasation among patients receiving contrast through USGIV catheters.
METHODS - A retrospective observational study of adult patients who underwent a contrast-enhanced CT scan at a tertiary care emergency department during a recent 64-month period was conducted. The unadjusted prevalence of contrast extravasation was compared between patients with an USGIV and those with a standard peripheral IV inserted without ultrasound. Then, a two-stage sampling design was used to select a subset of the population for a multivariable logistic regression model evaluating USGIVs as a risk factor for extravasation while adjusting for potential confounders.
RESULTS - In total, 40,143 patients underwent a contrasted CT scan, including 364 (0.9%) who had contrast administered through an USGIV. Unadjusted prevalence of extravasation was 3.6% for contrast administration through USGIVs and 0.3% for standard IVs (relative risk = 13.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 7.9 to 24.6). After potential confounders were adjusted for, CT contrast administered through USGIVs was associated with extravasation (adjusted odds ratio = 8.6, 95% CI = 4.6 to 16.2). No patients required surgical management for contrast extravasation; one patient in the standard IV group was admitted for observation due to extravasation.
CONCLUSIONS - Patients who received contrast for a CT scan through an USGIV had a higher risk of extravasation than those who received contrast through a standard peripheral IV. Clinicians should consider this extravasation risk when weighing the risks and benefits of a contrast-enhanced CT scan in a patient with USGIV vascular access.
© 2016 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.