To investigate the clinical impact of a quality improvement program including dedicated emergency radiology personnel (QIP-DERP) on the management of emergency surgical patients in the emergency department (ED).
Materials and methods:
This retrospective study identified all adult patients (n = 3667) who underwent preoperative body CT, for which written radiology reports were generated, and who subsequently underwent non-elective surgery between 2007 and 2018 in the ED of a single urban Academic tertiary medical institution. The study cohort was divided into periods before and after the initiation of QIP-DERP. We matched the control group patients (i.e., before QIP-DERP) to the QIP-DERP group patients using propensity score (PS), with a 1:2 matching ratio for the main analysis and a 1:1 ratio for sub-analyses separately for daytime (8:00 AM to 5:00 PM on weekdays) and after-hours. The primary outcome was timing of emergency surgery (TES), which was defined as the time from ED arrival to surgical intervention. The secondary outcomes included ED length of stay (LOS) and intensive care unit (ICU) admission rate.
According to the PS-matched analysis, compared with the control group, QIP-DERP significantly decreased the median TES from 16.7 hours (interquartile range, 9.4-27.5 hours) to 11.6 hours (6.6-21.9 hours) (p < 0.001) and the ICU admission rate from 33.3% (205/616) to 23.9% (295/1232) (p < 0.001). During after-hours, the QIP-DERP significantly reduced median TES from 19.9 hours (12.5-30.1 hours) to 9.6 hours (5.7-19.1 hours) (p < 0.001), median ED LOS from 9.1 hours (5.6-16.5 hours) to 6.7 hours (4.9-11.3 hours) (p < 0.001), and ICU admission rate from 35.5% (108/304) to 22.0% (67/304) (p < 0.001).
QIP-DERP implementation improved the quality of emergency surgical management in the ED by reducing TES, ED LOS, and ICU admission rate, particularly during after-hours.
Dedicated emergency radiology; Emergency department length of stay; Intensive care unit admission rate; Quality improvement program; Timing of emergency surgery.