System Level Informatics to Improve Triage Practices for Sickle Cell Disease Vaso-Occlusive Crisis: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial

Elizabeth Linton, Kimberly Souffront, Lauren Gordon, George T. Loo, Nicholas Genes, Jeffrey Glassberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute guidelines for the treatment of vaso-occlusive crisis among people with sickle cell disease in the emergency department recommend assigning an emergency severity index of 2 at triage. However, patients with sickle cell disease often do not receive guideline-concordant care at triage. To address this gap, a decision support tool was developed, in the form of a text banner on the triage page in the electronic health record system, visible to triage nurses. Methods: A prospective quality improvement initiative was designed where the emergency severity index clinical decision support tool was deployed to a stratified random sample of emergency department triage nurses to receive the banner (n = 24) or not to receive the banner (n = 27), reminding them to assign the patient to emergency severity index category 2. The acceptability of the emergency severity index clinical decision support tool was evaluated with the Ottawa Acceptability of Decision Rules Instrument. Descriptive and bivariate (chi-square test) statistics were used to characterize the study's primary outcome, proportion of visits assigned an emergency severity index of 2 or higher. A generalized linear mixed model with clustering at the level of the triage nurse was performed to test the association between the banner intervention and triage practices. Results: A total of 384 ED visits were included for analysis. Before study initiation, the percentage of sickle cell disease patients’ visits with the proper emergency severity index assignment at triage was 37.04%. After initiation, the proportion of sickle cell disease patients’ visits with an emergency severity index of 2 or higher triaged by nurses in the intervention group was markedly higher in the intervention group than in the control group (64.95% vs 35.05%; χ2 = 8.79, P ≤ .003). Accounting for clustering by nurse, the odds ratio for proper triage emergency severity index assignment was 3.22 (95% confidence interval 1.17–8.85; P ≤ .02) for the intervention versus control. Surveyed triage nurses reported the emergency severity index clinical decision support tool to be moderately acceptable (nurses’ mean Ottawa Acceptability of Decision Rules Instrument scores ranged from 4.13 to 4.90 on the 6-point scale; n = 11). There were no differences in ED experience outcomes including time to first analgesic or length of stay between the control and intervention groups. Conclusion: Substantial improvements in triage guideline concordance were achieved and sustained without direct nursing education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)742-751.e1
JournalJournal of Emergency Nursing
Volume47
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Clinical decision support
  • EHR alert
  • Emergency nursing
  • Guidelines
  • Pain
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Triage

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