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Comparative quality measures of emergency care: an outcome cockpit proposal to survey clinical processes in real life

Authors Burgemeister S, Kutz A, Conca A, Holler T, Haubitz S, Huber A, Buergi U, Mueller B, Schuetz P

Received 2 July 2017

Accepted for publication 4 August 2017

Published 24 October 2017 Volume 2017:9 Pages 97—106

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OAEM.S145342

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Hans-Christoph Pape


Susanne Burgemeister,1 Alexander Kutz,1 Antoinette Conca,2 Thomas Holler,3 Sebastian Haubitz,1 Andreas Huber,4 Ulrich Buergi,5 Beat Mueller,1 Philipp Schuetz1

1University Department of Internal Medicine, Medical Faculty of the University of Basel, Kantonsspital Aarau, Basel, 2Department of Clinical Nursing Science, 3Department of Controlling and Quality Management, 4Department of Laboratory Medicine, 5Emergency Department, Kantonsspital Aarau, Aarau, Switzerland

Background: Benchmarking of real-life quality of care may improve evaluation and comparability of emergency department (ED) care. We investigated process management variables for important medical diagnoses in a large, well-defined cohort of ED patients and studied predictors for low quality of care.
Methods: We prospectively included consecutive medical patients with main diagnoses of community-acquired pneumonia, urinary tract infection (UTI), myocardial infarction (MI), acute heart failure, deep vein thrombosis, and COPD exacerbation and followed them for 30 days. We studied predictors for alteration in ED care (treatment times, satisfaction with care, readmission rates, and mortality) by using multivariate regression analyses.
Results: Overall, 2986 patients (median age 72 years, 57% males) were included. The median time to start treatment was 72 minutes (95% CI: 23 to 150), with a median length of ED stay (ED LOS) of 256 minutes (95% CI: 166 to 351). We found delayed treatment times and longer ED LOS to be independently associated with main medical admission diagnosis and time of day on admission (shortest times for MI and longest times for UTI). Time to first physician contact (–0.01 hours, 95% CI: –0.03 to –0.02) and ED LOS (–0.01 hours, 95% CI: –0.02 to –0.04) were main predictors for patient satisfaction.
Conclusion: Within this large cohort of consecutive patients seeking ED care, we found time of day on admission to be an important predictor for ED timeliness, which again predicted satisfaction with hospital care. Older patients were waiting longer for specific treatment, whereas polymorbidity predicted an increased ED LOS.

Keywords: quality measures, quality of care, emergency department, length of stay, patient satisfaction, benchmarking, health care service

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