Background In many EDs, emergency physicians (EPs) do not have admitting privileges and must wait for consultants to further assess and admit patients. This delays bed requests and increases ED crowding. We measured EPs’ abilities to predict patient admission prior to consultation and estimated the potential ED stretcher time saved if EPs requested a bed with consultation.
Methods We conducted a prospective cohort study in an academic centre in Canada between October 2017 and February 2018 using a convenience sample of ED patient encounters requiring consultation. We excluded patients under 18 years or those clearly likely to be admitted (traumas, strokes, S-T elevation myocardial infarctions and Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale of 1). EPs predicted patient admission just before consultation. Potential ED stretcher time saved was estimated for correctly predicted admissions assuming bed requests were initiated with consultation and a constant time to inpatient bed.
Results Characteristics of 454 patients were: mean age 60.1 years, 48.5% male, 46.9% evening presentation, 69.4% admitted and median time to bed request of 3.5 hours (IQR 2.0–5.3 hours). Overall, EPs prediction sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value were 90.5% (95% CI 86.7% to 93.5%), 84.2% (95% CI 77.0% to 89.8%), 92.8% (95% CI 89.8% to 95.0%) and 79.6% (95% CI 73.4% to 84.7%). Approximately 922.1 hours of ED stretcher time could have been saved during the 5-month study period if EPs initiated a bed request with consultation.
Conclusion Crowding is a reality for EDs worldwide, and many systems could benefit from EP-initiated hospital admissions to decrease the amount of time admitted patients wait in the ED.
- emergency department
- admission avoidance
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Contributors EL and ESHK conceived the study concept. EL recruited participants, performed the data acquisition, data analysis and drafted the manuscript. EK and CV provided advice on study design and data analysis. All authors contributed to its revision and approve of this final version.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval This study was approved by the Ottawa Health Science Network Research Ethics Board, which considers the ethical aspects of research studies involving human participants at The Ottawa Hospital.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request. All data requests will be available on request.
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