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Impact of senior clinical review on patient disposition from the emergency department


Introduction The delivery of high quality emergency medicine ideally involves input from senior doctors 24 h a day. This study aims to assess the influence of ‘real-time’ senior clinician supervision on patient disposition from a UK emergency department.

Methods The study was set in a UK teaching hospital with 24 h senior cover. Patients were initially seen by a junior doctor who completed a plan for the patient before seeking senior advice. Primary outcome measures were a change in patient outcome of discharge, admit, telephone speciality for opinion or outpatient follow-up.

Results 556 patients underwent senior review during the study period. Review reduced inpatient admissions by 11.9% (95% CI 7.2% to 18.2%) and specifically reduced admissions to the acute medical assessment unit by 21.2% (95% CI 13.5% to 30.8%). Inappropriate discharge was prevented in 9.4% (95% CI 6.2% to 13.7%) and appropriate use of outpatient facilities resulted in a rise of 34.6% in appointments.

Conclusions Senior doctor input in patient care in the ED adds accuracy to disposition decisions, impacting on patient safety and improving departmental flow.

  • Emergency Department
  • clinician
  • clinical governance
  • admission
  • clinical assessment
  • emergency care systems
  • advanced practitioner
  • management
  • risk management
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