Author Interviews, Emergency Care, JAMA, Medical Imaging, Pediatrics / 04.06.2019 Interview with: Eyal Cohen, MD, M.Sc, FRCP(C) Professor, Pediatrics University of Toronto Co-Founder, Complex Care Program The Hospital for Sick Children What is the background for this study? Response: Minimizing care that provides little benefit to patients has become an important focus to decrease health care costs and improve the quality of care delivery.  Diagnostic imaging in children is a common focus for campaigns designed to reduce overuse both in Canada and the US. There are some suggestions that there may be more overuse of care in the United States than Canada, but there has been little study in children. We compared the use of low-value diagnostic imaging rates from four pediatric emergency departments in Ontario to 26 in the United States from 2006 to 2016.  We defined low-value imaging as situations where children are discharged from an emergency department with a diagnosis for which routine use of diagnostic imaging may not be necessary, like asthma or constipation.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Emergency Care / 30.07.2018 Interview with: Benjamin H. Schnapp, MD BerBee Walsh Department of Emergency Medicine Assistant Professor (CHS) Assistant Emergency Medicine Residency Program Director University of Wisconsin What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Medical errors harm thousands of patients per year.  There’s already a lot we know about systems errors - the ways that care delivery can go wrong.  We know less about cognitive errors, or the ways in which doctors think that can lead to bad outcomes.  An Emergency Department can feel particularly vulnerable to this type of errors - it’s a chaotic environment with patients in various states of illness, many unaccompanied, without records, or too ill to communicate well. An Emergency Department with trainee physicians can feel even more chaotic - even though they are supervised by staff physicians, resident physicians in their first few months to years of training have not yet accumulated the same level of knowledge and experience as longer-tenured doctors.  Errors that get made on the hospital floor are errors of information processing - physicians have the right information, they just don’t always do the right thing with it.  We wanted to know what kinds of errors get made in an Emergency Department with trainees.  Are the errors related to the chaos and an inability to obtain reliable information from patients?  Are they related to the trainees not having enough knowledge and experience?  Or are they like the errors that get made on an inpatient floor? Our study found that the most frequent type of errors were errors of information processing - just like on the hospital floors.  The most common types of errors we saw were physicians settling on a diagnosis prematurely and weighing the importance of findings incorrectly. Patients with abdominal problems had the highest number of errors in our study.  Patients with certain risk factors, such as psychiatric disease or substance abuse, seemed to be particularly prone to errors. (more…)
AHRQ, Author Interviews, Emergency Care / 03.11.2017 Interview with: Ruirui Sun, Ph.D. AHRQ What is the background for this study? Response: Homeless people are more likely than the members of the general public to use emergency department (ED) services, and it is usually at teaching hospitals when they seek medical care (Kushel et al., 2001; Bowdler and Barrell, 1987). This Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Statistical Brief studies patient characteristics, insurance coverage and clinical profile of the ED visits among homeless individuals by hospital teaching status, during 2014 from eight States (AZ, FL, GA, MA, MD, MO, NY, and WI). (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Emergency Care / 26.09.2017 Interview with: Gary Smith, MD, DrPH Director, Center for Injury Research and Policy Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus, OH What is the background for this study? Response: Previous studies have documented the frequency and characteristics of stair-related injuries among children and older adults. Numerous studies have examined gait characteristics of different age groups and their relationship to falls. In addition, it is estimated that the direct medical and indirect costs of non-fatal stair-related injuries are $92 billion annually in the US. The current study investigates the epidemiological characteristics of stair-related injuries among all ages using a nationally representative sample over a multi-year period. Our study also expands upon prior research on this topic to investigate the mechanisms of stair-related injuries and examine trends. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Emergency Care, Pediatrics / 26.10.2016 Interview with: Yunru Huang Ph.D. Candidate in epidemiology Department of Pediatrics University of California Davis, Sacramento, CA What is the background for this study? Response: Each year, more than 27 million children seek care in emergency departments (EDs) in the United States. Many EDs, however, are not fully equipped with the recommended pediatric supplies and may not have access to the pediatric specialists and resources needed to provide definitive care. As a result, many children receiving treatment in EDs of hospitals with limited pediatric resources are transferred to another hospital’s ED or inpatient unit for admission. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) requires hospitals to make decisions on patient transfer and admission independent of insurance status. That is, the decision to transfer a patient to another hospital for admission should only depend upon clinical factors or the need for specialty services. However, patterns observed in the medical literatures have suggested that a child’s insurance status could be associated with transfer and admission decisions. These studies have been limited to single institutions and/or have been limited to specific conditions._ENREF_14 Whether or not transfer decisions among pediatric patients are related to insurance status has yet to be studied on a national level and across a variety of diagnoses. We used Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project 2012 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample data and sought to investigate the relationships between insurance status and odds of transfer relative to local admission among pediatric patients receiving care in the ED. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emergency Care, Nursing / 02.09.2016 Interview with Mathew Douma, RN BSN ENC(C) CNCC(C) Emergency Department, Royal Alexandra Hospital Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Masters of Nursing Student University of Toronto, Toronto What is the background for this study? Response: Many emergency departments experience crowding, which is typically defined as a situation where demands for service exceed the ability of the emergency department to provide quality care in a timely fashion. Typically when patients are waiting in a waiting room they do not undergo diagnostics or treatments. In an effort to speed the process up and reduce the amount of time the patient spends in the emergency department, some facilities have created protocols for diagnostics or treatments typically outside the traditional scope of practice of nursing staff. Our emergency department had protocols like this for almost 15 years, though we had never evaluated their effectiveness. So an interdisciplinary group in our emergency department updated them and then we set out to evaluate them. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Emergency Care, Vanderbilt / 24.11.2015 Interview with: Candace D. McNaughton, MD MPH FACEP Assistant Professor Emergency Medicine Research Department of Emergency Medicine, Research Division Vanderbilt University Medical Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. McNaughton: Hypertension, or high blood pressure, affects 1/3rd of adults in the United States and more than 1 billion people worldwide.  It is also the #1 risk factor for cardiovascular disease such as heart attack and stroke, so it is very important to treat. The burden of hypertension in the emergency department is not well understood.  The ER is not usually thought of as a place where perhaps we could or should be addressing hypertension; that has traditionally be left up to primary care providers. Through this study, our goals were to gain a better understanding of how many ER visits were either related to hypertension or were solely because of hypertension, and to determine whether this changed from 2006 to 2012. We found that emergency room visits related to or solely for hypertension were common and that they both rose more than 20% from 2006 to 2012. Visits to the emergency department specifically for hypertension were more common among patients who were younger, healthier, and less likely to have health insurance. Despite increases in the number of ER visits related to hypertension, the proportion of patients who were hospitalized did not increase; this suggests that doctors in emergency departments may be more aware of hypertension and/or may be managing it without having to hospitalize patients. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Emergency Care, Pain Research, Pharmacology / 16.03.2014

Maryann Mazer-Amirshahi PharmD, Interview with: Maryann Mazer-Amirshahi PharmD, MD The Department of Emergency Medicine, The George Washington University The Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC What are the main findings of the study? Answer: We found a significant increase in the prescribing of opioid pain medications in the emergency department. At the same time, this was not accounted for by a similar increase in pain-related visits and prescribing patterns of non-opioid analgesics did not change. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Emergency Care, JAMA / 11.03.2014

Andrew I. Geller, MD Medical Officer in the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at Interview with: Andrew I. Geller, MD Medical Officer in the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at CDC. What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Geller: Using CDC’s national medication safety monitoring system, we estimated that, each year, there were about 100,000 visits made to U.S. emergency departments (EDs) for insulin-related hypoglycemia and errors during 2007-2011, or about half a million ED visits over the 5-year study period.  This is important because many of these ED visits for insulin-related hypoglycemia may be preventable. We also found these ED visits were more common with increasing age:  every year, 1 in 49 insulin-treated seniors (aged 65 years or older) visited the ED because of hypoglycemia while on insulin or because of a medication error related to insulin. Among the very elderly (aged 80 years or older), this number was 1 in 8 annually. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emergency Care / 22.10.2013

Dr. Gina Agarwal Assistant Professor Department of Family Medicine McMaster Family Practice 690 Main Street West Hamilton , Ontario L8S Interview with: Dr. Gina Agarwal Assistant Professor Department of Family Medicine McMaster Family Practice 690 Main Street West Hamilton , Ontario L8S 1A4 What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Agarwal: The study findings are just preliminary as of yet, but suggest that the CHAP-EMS program is potentially a feasible and effective health program for seniors housing buildings in urban areas. The program delivered tailored health risk assesments to seniors living in subsidized city housing, also assessing their risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and falls using validated tools. Paramedics were trained in how to assess, and deliver risk assessment results and then provide community resource information. Seniors attending the program could drop in any time and were encouraged to come back for follow up sessions. Results of each attendance were forwarded to family doctors to close the loop. At the 5th month of implementation, we have recorded 241 participant visits by 40 unique participants; 37 had 2 or more visits; 70% had elevated BPs initially; 77.8% of those previously diagnosed hypertensive and 55.8% of those undiagnosed hypertensive had elevated BP; 82.5% had moderate to high CANRISK scores. Preliminary data shows a 32% reduction in EMS calls. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emergency Care, Stroke / 03.05.2013 eInterview with with Dr. O. James Ekundayo, MD, DrPH Assistant Professor Department of Family & Community Medicine Meharry Medical College 1005 Dr. D.B. Todd Jr. Blvd. Nashville, TN 37208 Written Interview conducted with author by Editor Marie Benz, MD What are the main findings of the study? Answer: The key findings are: ·         One third of stroke patients did not activate Emergency Medical Services (EMS). ·         Subgroups of patients who were less likely to use EMS include younger patients, patients of minority race or ethnicity, and those living in rural communities. ·         Prior history of stroke /TIA does not confer greater likelihood of EMS activation during subsequent stroke. ·         Patients who used EMS had shorter pre-hospital and in-hospital delay. They arrived early, had prompter evaluation, and received more rapid treatment. ·         More patients, who were eligible for clot-busting drug, received them. These happened because EMS gives the receiving hospital pre-notification about the arrival of the patient and the ER staff is ready to act as soon as the patient arrives. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emergency Care, Nature, Weight Research / 02.05.2013 eInterview with Professor David McDonald Taylor Emergency Department, Austin Health PO Box 5555, Heidelberg, Vic. 3084, Australia What are the main findings of the study? Answer: Overall, obese and non-obese patients have similar experiences during their ED stay. However, while obese patients tend to be younger and less sick, their more frequent presentation with potentially cardiac-related disease is reflected in their management. The excess of liver function tests and abdominal xrays performed on obese patients is likely to reflect examination difficulties and over investigation. Obese patients do experience more attempts at IV cannulation. (more…)