Successful emergency room automation is possible

From ZDNet:

The case studies are starting to come in. The naysayers are wrong.

You can automate hospital operations and improve results. Even in the toughest environments, like the emergency room.

I spent a pleasant morning chatting with Sherry Alton, a registered nurse who is director of emergency services for Graham Hospital in Canton, Illinois. She was touting her experience with T System, a Windows-based ER automation system produced in Dallas.

Time of day, day of week analysis of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OCHA) frequency and viability

From Resuscitation:

Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest frequency and survival: Evidence for temporal variability

Some cardiac phenomena demonstrate temporal variability. We evaluated temporal variability in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) frequency and outcome.

Methods: Prospective cohort study (the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium) of all OHCA of presumed cardiac cause who were treated by emergency medical services within 9 US and Canadian sites between 12/1/2005 and 02/28/2007. In each site, Emergency Medical System records were collected and analyzed. Outcomes were individually verified by trained data abstractors.

Results: There were 9667 included patients. Median age was 68 (IQR 24) years, 66.7% were male and 8.3% survived to hospital discharge. The frequency of cardiac arrest varied significantly across time blocks (p<0.001). Compared to the 0001–0600 hourly time block, the odds ratios and 95% CIs for the occurrence of OHCA were 2.02 (1.90, 2.15) in the 0601–1200 block, 2.01 (1.89, 2.15) in the 1201–1800 block, and 1.73 (1.62, 1.85) in the 1801–2400 block. The frequency of all OHCA varied significantly by day of week (p=0.03) and month of year (p<0.001) with the highest frequencies on Saturday and during December. Survival to hospital discharge was lowest when the OHCA occurred during the 0001–0600 time block (7.3%) and highest during the 1201–1800 time block (9.6%). Survival was highest for OHCAs occurring on Mondays (10.0%) and lowest for those on Wednesdays (6.8%) (p=0.02).

Conclusion: There is temporal variability in OHCA frequency and outcome. Underlying patient, EMS system and environmental factors need to be explored to offer further insight into these observed patterns.

‘Tis the season for elderly emergency room visits

From McKnight’s:

The holidays are typically the time for families to gather for fun and cheer. But for families who haven’t been keeping track of an elderly relative’s health, the festivities may include a trip to the emergency room, a recent news article suggests.

Sometimes, families who spend most of their time apart are alarmed when they finally reconnect and see the health condition of an older relative, according to Dr. Tamara Kuittinen, director of medical education in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in a recent HealthDay News item. In their panic, they take Grandma or Grandpa to the emergency room, increasing the flow of holiday healthcare traffic. But these trips are usually unnecessary, Kuittinen said. Often, children of aging parents are simply unaware of how the aging process works, she suggests.