Audit of documentation proficiency of emergency department patients who are discharged against medical advice before and after implementation of a checklist

Sze Joo Juan, Ghee Hian Lim, Beng Leong Lim


Objective: Documentation of the discharge against medical advice (AMA) is poorly performed in the emergency department (ED). Little is known about the impacts of a checklist on this. Our study aimed to compare the quality of AMA documentation before and after implementation of a checklist.
Methods: A retrospective review was conducted followed by a prospective study; each over three months of AMA interactions in our ED pre and post implementation of a checklist. An 11-point checklist was used to determine documentation quality during these two periods. Quality was assessed based on the number of points fulfilled on this tool. Documentation was classified as “good” (8-11), “average” (4-7) and “poor” (0-3). The primary outcome measured was the proportions of discharged AMA records that showed “good”, “average” and “poor” documentation. Secondary outcomes were compliance rates to each of the categories of the checklist before and after its use.
Results: 339 and 309 complete records were retrieved from the retrospective and prospective arms respectively. The proportions of case records in the three grades before and after use of the checklist respectively were: poor, 199/339 (59%) vs. 7/313 (2%); fair, 133/339 (39%) vs. 66/313 (21%) and good 7/339 (2%) vs. 240/313 (77%); all p-values were statistically significant. There were also statistically significant differences in compliance rates to each of the categories of the checklist pre and post checklist implementation.
Conclusions: This study shows improvement in quality and compliance rates in the audit categories after the implementation of an AMA checklist.

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Journal of Hospital Administration

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

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