Evidence based pediatric care closer to home: A mixed methods evaluation of a clinical pathways-based emergency outreach program

Mona Jabbour, Sarah Reid, Danica Irwin, Kristina Rohde, Andrea Losier, Eleanor Holmgren, Nicholas Barrowman, Katherine Moreau


Objective: While specialized pediatric care is not feasible in all Emergency Department (ED) settings, enhanced system capacity is needed to appropriately address pediatric emergency care needs. Our objective was to evaluate an innovative clinical pathway (CP) based regional ED outreach program within community EDs.
Methods: This mixed-methods design includes pre/post chart audits, qualitative interviews, ED site audits, and website utilization metrics. The study was conducted in community-based hospital EDs within the region. ED nurses, physicians and administrators from eight hospitals participated in the study. The ED outreach program involved implementation of 3 CPs addressing common pediatric emergency presentations: asthma, croup and gastroenteritis. Primary outcomes from chart audits included presence of a CP-related document filed in relevant patient charts and the proportion of patients who received appropriate care as per the severity-based CP recommendations. Secondary outcomes included documented assessments of condition severity, use of specific treatments and hospital metrics.
Results: ED health professionals value the outreach initiative and CPs. Site audits confirmed ED presence and knowledge of CP tools. However several adoption barriers were identified, including time, perceived threats to physician autonomy and infrequent opportunities for use. Chart audits demonstrated site-dependent, variable uptake of CP resources into ED workflows. In total, 1,274 health records were audited, with the following pre/post breakdowns: 203/211 (asthma), 131/193 (croup) and 291/245 (gastroenteritis). We could not evaluate our primary outcomes due to infrequent documentation of condition severity. Significant post-implementation improvements were demonstrated in gastroenteritis management. Median length of stay remained unchanged (asthma) or increased (croup, gastroenteritis). ED site was an important predictor of some asthma treatments and LOS for asthma (p < .001), croup (p = .01) and gastroenteritis (p < .001).
Conclusions: CP documents were available in EDs, but may not be utilized as fully intended. Site heterogeneity may account for lack of significant change in several outcome variables.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jha.v6n1p43


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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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