Triage to Observation: A Quality Improvement Initiative for Chest Pain Patients Presenting to the Emergency Department.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of a rapid admission protocol for chest pain patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) on ED length-of-stay (LOS). In this study, ED LOS was defined as the time from triage check-in until the time the patient physically leaves the ED. The purpose of this quality improvement study was to decrease ED crowding. METHODS: This is a single-center prospective cohort study performed as a quality improvement initiative. This study implemented a rapid admission protocol for patients who were at moderate risk for a major adverse cardiac event based on the HEART score. When a patient presented to the ED through triage with a chief complaint of chest pain, this protocol allowed the provider-in-triage (PIT) to identify eligible patients for potential rapid admission to the hospital's clinical decision unit (CDU). The PIT would complete a rapid medical screening examination, initiate the patient's workup, and call the CDU providers to further evaluate the patient. By identifying these patients early, the lengthy ED chest pain workup contributing to longer ED LOS could then be completed in the CDU. RESULTS: The total number of patients seen in the ED over the study period was 34,251. The total number of patients admitted to the CDU during the study period was 1,442. The PIT identified 13 patients for rapid admission to the CDU during the study period. These patients had a statistically significant reduction in ED LOS (P < 0.001). ED LOS was also adjusted to identify delays in patient movement resulting in a statistically significant difference (P < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Implementation of a rapid admission protocol for chest pain patients at moderate risk for a major adverse cardiac event resulted in a reduction in ED LOS. Adjusted ED LOS was also significant, highlighting a delay in patient movement from the ED to the CDU indicating continued barriers affecting ED holding times.
Williams, J; Aurora, T; Baker, K; Thompson, J; Smallheer, B
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