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Emory Pediatric Emergency Medicine http://pediatrics.emory.edu/pem. Prioritizing Patient Care in an Era of Overcrowding. Naghma S. Khan, MD Pediatric Emergency Medicine Emory University School of Medicine Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. June 5, 2009. Introduction. ED Challenges

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emory pediatric emergency medicine http pediatrics emory edu pem

Emory Pediatric Emergency Medicinehttp://pediatrics.emory.edu/pem

prioritizing patient care in an era of overcrowding

Prioritizing Patient Care in an Era of Overcrowding

Naghma S. Khan, MD

Pediatric Emergency Medicine

Emory University School of Medicine

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

June 5, 2009

introduction
Introduction
  • ED Challenges
    • Overcrowding
    • Space constraints
    • Nursing and physician shortage
    • Increasing non-urgent patient volumes in the ED
    • Decreasing reimbursement
  • Triage methods through the ages
    • Three-tier
    • Five-tier
  • Emergency Severity Index (ESI) Triage
    • Agency for Healthcare Quality Improvement
gaining capacity
Gaining capacity
  • Build a larger ED
    • Cost - $$$$
    • Space
    • 5-10 year plan – predictions fall short
  • Decrease throughput
    • Turnover rooms with greater frequency
    • No added cost
    • Decreased walk-out rates – increased revenue
    • Improved patient satisfaction
    • Increased capacity
ed flow
ED Flow

Input

Throughput

Output

Lack of access to follow-up care

Patient arrives to ED

Ambulance diversions

Emergency Care

Seriously ill from the community and referral sources

Left without being seen

Ambulatory Care System

Triage and room placement

Unscheduled Urgent Care

Lack of available ambulatory care

Desire for immediate care

Diagnostic evaluation and treatment

Patient Disposition

Transfer to outside facility

Demand for ED care

Admit to hospital

Safety Net Care

Vulnerable populations

Access barrier

ED boarding of inpatients

Lack of available staffed inpatient beds

COURTESY ACEP

ed overcrowding
ED Overcrowding!

Input

Throughput

Output

Lack of access to follow-up care

Patient arrives to ED

Ambulance diversions

Emergency Care

Seriously ill from the community and referral sources

Left without being seen

Ambulatory Care System

Triage and room placement

Unscheduled Urgent Care

Lack of available ambulatory care

Desire for immediate care

Diagnostic evaluation and treatment

Transfer to outside facility

Demand for ED care

Patient Disposition

Admit to hospital

ED boarding of inpatients

Safety Net Care

Vulnerable populations

Access barrier

Lack of available staffed inpatient beds

COURTESY ACEP

the need to prioritize
The Need to Prioritize

Input

Throughput

Output

Lack of access to follow-up care

Patient arrives to ED

Triage and Room Placement

Ambulance diversions

Emergency Care

Seriously ill from the community and referral sources

Left without being seen

Ambulatory Care System

Unscheduled Urgent Care

Lack of available ambulatory care

Desire for immediate care

Diagnostic evaluation and treatment

Transfer to outside facility

Demand for ED care

Patient Disposition

Admit to hospital

ED boarding of inpatients

Safety Net Care

Vulnerable populations

Access barrier

Lack of available staffed inpatient beds

COURTESY ACEP

triage
Triage
  • French verb “trier” - to separate, sort, sift or select
  • Prioritization of patients based on the severity of illness/ injury

Here’s a copy of our new triage plan…..the order is “walking wounded” first, the dying and dead second, lawyers last…….

food for thought
Food for thought
  • Ultimate Goal
    • Get the patient to a doctor
  • Is triage (sorting) necessary if there is a bed, a doctor and resources available and no wait?
  • Is a nurse assessment essential for ALL patients
history
History
  • Napoleonic Wars (early 1800’s)– Battlefield Triage
    • Likely to live, regardless of care
    • Likely to Die, regardless of care
    • Immediate care would make a positive difference
  • Evolution over time
    • Pre-hospital triage
    • Mass Casualty triage
    • Managing ED inflow
    • Telephone triage/ medical advice lines
introduction of triage to u s a
Introduction of Triage to U.S.A
  • 1950’s
  • Office-based practice
  • After hours primary care to ED’s
  • Increase in low acuity use of ED’s
  • Overcrowding
  • Need to sort sick from non sick
  • Military physicians and nurses introduce triage
maturation
Maturation
  • Traffic Director
    • Non-clinical person assessing arrivals and directing to appropriate areas
  • Spot check
    • Realization that non-clinicians are inadequate to assess patients
    • Used in low volume ED’s
    • Clerk watches ED entrance and pages the triage RN when needed
  • Comprehensive
    • Experienced nurses
    • Rapidly gather “sufficient” information to determine acuity
    • Within a 2 to 5 minute time frame – in reality this goal is met 22% of the time
comprehensive triage
Comprehensive Triage
  • Takes longer to triage “extremes” of age
  • Definite benefits
    • Each patient is greeted by an experienced nurse
    • A sick patient is immediately identified
    • First aid is provided as needed
    • The nurse is available to meet the emotional needs of the patients and families in the waiting room
triage nurse
Triage Nurse
    • Triage nurses require advanced clinical decision making expertise
  • They need to
    • Make complex clinical decisions, in conditions of uncertainty with limited or obscure information, in minimal time
    • Have limited margin for error
    • Be able to rapidly identify and respond to actual life-threatening states
    • Be able to make a judgment on the potential for life- threatening deterioration
triage1
Triage
  • Decisions are made
    • In response to presenting signs or symptoms
    • No attempt is made to formulate a medical diagnosis
    • Triage category is allocated based on the necessity for time-critical intervention to improve patient outcome, potential threat to life or need to relieve suffering
    • The accuracy of triage decisions is a major influence on the health outcomes of patients
ed triage goals
ED Triage Goals
  • To sort a group of patients who present simultaneously to the ED
  • To ensure
    • Appropriate care
    • Appropriate location
    • Appropriate degree of urgency
  • To initiate care in response to clinical need rather than order of arrival
  • To promote safety by ensuring that timing of care and allocation of resources matches the degree of illness or injury
triage outcomes
Triage Outcomes
  • Expected triage – triaged appropriately
    • Seen by a doctor within a suitable time frame and should have a positive health outcome
  • Over triage – triaged to a higher level then indicated
    • This decreases the wait time for the patient, which is not detrimental to the patient, however the inappropriate allocation of resources has the potential to adversely affect other patients
  • Under triage – triaged to a lower level then indicated
    • This prolongs the wait time until medical intervention and there is potential for deterioration or prolongation of pain and suffering. These factors increase the risk of an adverse patient outcome
usa triage protocols
USA Triage Protocols
  • Maclean: 2001 survey of 27% of all ED’s in the United States
    • 69% used 3-Tier Triage
    • 12% used 4-TierTriage
    • 3% used the Australian or Canadian 5-Tier Triage
    • 16% did not use a scale or did not answer
  • National Center Health Statistics: 2003
    • 47% used 3-Tier Triage
    • 20% 4-Tier Triage
    • 20% 5-Tier
3 tier
3-Tier
  • Levels
    • Emergent: Poses an immediate threat to life or limb
    • Urgent: Requiring prompt care, but can wait “hours”
    • Non-Urgent: Condition needs attention, but time is not a critical factor
  • Large variation in definition for each level by hospital
  • No clear correlation with disposition
  • Large volume of “urgent” patients – with varying degrees of illness
reliability of 3 tier triage
Reliability of 3-Tier Triage
  • Wuerz, Fernandes, Alarcon – 1998
    • Triage nurses and EMT’s at 2 hospitals
    • Rated the acuity of 5 scripted patient scenarios using 3-tier scale
    • Same people repeated the triage assignment 6 weeks later
    • Only 24% rated all 5 cases the same in both phases
    • Overall kappa (inter-observer variability) statistic was 0.35 (0: no agreement; 1: perfect agreement)
    • 3-Tier not reliable, not effective
four tier acuity scales
Four-Tier Acuity Scales
  • Blue – Red – Yellow – Green
  • Attempted to split the 3-tier “red” and “yellows”
  • More equitable distribution of patients across the levels
  • Requires a high degree of nursing experience to do accurately
  • Poor reliability and reproducibility
five tier triage
Five-Tier Triage
  • Australasian National Triage Scale – 1994
      • “This patient should wait for medical assessment and treatment no longer than ____ minutes”
  • Correlates strongly with
    • Resource consumption
    • Admission rates
    • ED length of stay
    • Mortality rates
  • Used as a basis of ED assessment and quality of care – patients need to be seen within the triage assigned time
manchester triage 1997
Manchester Triage – 1997
  • Ascertain patients chief complaint
  • Select 1 of 52 flow charts with an algorithm that assigns a triage score of 1 to 5 based on a structured interview
  • Reliability study comparing nurse triage to senior medical staff triage
    • Fair to Moderate reliability
  • Time to doctor
    • 1 Immediate 0 minutes
    • 2 Very Urgent 10 minutes
    • 3 Urgent 60 minutes
    • 4 Standard 120 minutes
    • 5 Nonurgent 240 minutes
canadian triage and acuity scale 1996
Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (1996)
  • Pediatric Modifications
  • Initial impression of severity of illness
  • Evaluation of presenting complaint
  • Assessment of behavior and age related physiological parameters
  • Limited assessment for assigning Level 1 or 2
  • Full assessment for 3,4,5
  • Quality goal: to see a high percentage of patients in each category in the specified time
time factors
Time factors
  • Used for quality
  • Allows acuity adjusted comparison of ED’s
  • Used for predicting staffing models for physicians and staff
outcomes
Outcomes
  • Strong correlation for admissions
  • Inter-rater reliability high
    • Physician and RN: Kappa 0.85
    • Physician, RN and Paramedic: Kappa 0.77
  • Used by paramedics for pre-hospital triage
  • Used for staffing predictions
    • Time spent by physician for each triage level
  • Used for evaluating practice variability
  • Is a country-wide measure of timeliness of service
the emergency severity index
The Emergency Severity Index
  • Wuerz and Eitel – 1998
  • Fundamentally the closest to when triage originated
  • Principal goal of triage is to facilitate prioritization of patients based on the urgency of the condition
    • Which person is seen first
    • How many resources will they require
  • Patient sorting + patient streaming
  • Underlying assumptions of the 1st 3 5-tier systems was “how long can the patients wait
  • There is no time allocation in ESI
  • Dying patient - see immediately
  • Sick appearing patient- “shouldn’t wait”
  • The lower 3 levels are categorized based on resource needs
slide33

1

yes

no

yes

no

2

5

4

abnormal

no

3

decision point a
Decision Point A
  • Is the patient dying
  • Needs an immediate airway, medication, or other hemodynamic intervention
  • Is already intubated, apneic, pulseless, severe respiratory distress, SpO2 < 90 percent, acute mental status changes, or unresponsive
decision point b
Decision Point B
  • Should the patient wait?
  • Is this a high-risk situation?
  • Is the patient confused, lethargic or disoriented?
  • Is the patient in severe pain or distress?
decision point c
Decision Point C
  • Resource Needs
  • To identify resource needs, the nurse needs to be familiar with ED standards of care – EXPERIENCE!
decision point d
Decision Point D
  • The Patient’s Vital Signs
  • If out of range upgrade 3 to 4
decision point pediatric fever
Decision Point: Pediatric Fever
  • Fever
  • Recommendation: Check temp <3 years at triage
five tier acuity rating scales
Five-Tier Acuity Rating Scales
  • Widespread use of ESI in the United States
  • Canadian and US nurses studied together – randomized to ESI and CTS
        • Kappa for ESI 0.89
        • Kappa for CTS 0.91
  • Advantages
      • Easy to learn and implement
      • High degree of inter-raterreproducibility and reliability
        • Kappa 0.88
      • Ability to predict hospitalization, resource utilization, ED length of stay and six-month mortality
      • Moderate correlation with physician E/M codes and nursing workload
      • Facilitates meaningful comparison of case mix between hospitals
in summary
In summary
  • The goal of an ED visit is to see a physician
  • The goal of triage is to prioritize patients so
    • The sickest patients can be seen expeditiously
    • The non-urgent patients can be separated and seen in a low acuity setting