Reduced Hospital Duration of Stay Associated with Revised Emergency Department-Intensive Care Unit Admission Policy: A before and after Study

Jonathan V McCoy, Alexa R Gale, Jag Sunderram, Pamela A Ohman-Strickland, Robert M Eisenstein
Journal of Emergency Medicine 2015, 49 (6): 893-900

BACKGROUND: Emergency department (ED) and hospital crowding adversely impacts patient care. Although reduction methods for duration of stay in the ED have been explored, few focus on medical intensive care unit (MICU) patients.

OBJECTIVE: To quantify duration of stay or mortality changes associated with a policy intervention that changed the role of an MICU resident to "screen" and write MICU admission orders in the ED to instead meet the patient and write orders in the MICU if there was an available bed. The intervention moved "screening" bed management-appropriateness discussions to the MICU attending or fellow level.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective before and after study at an urban, level 1 trauma center of adults admitted to the MICU from the ED during the first 6 months in 2009 before, and the corresponding 6 months in 2010, after the intervention. We collected demographics, ED, MICU, and hospital duration of stay, duration of mechanical ventilation, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) scores, and mortality from electronic medical records. Linear models compared duration of stay differences; logistic regression compared in-hospital mortality. T-tests assessed APACHE score changes before and after the policy change. Analyses were adjusted for age and sex.

RESULTS: We included 498 patients, average age 66 years (±18), 52% male. Hospital duration of stay decreased 18% from 6.8 to 5.6 days (unadjusted p = 0.029). MICU duration of stay decreased from 3.5 to 3.3 days (unadjusted p = 0.34) and ED duration of stay from arrival to physical transfer decreased 40 min (375 to 324 min; unadjusted p = 0.006). Mortality and APACHE scores were unchanged.

CONCLUSIONS: A streamlined admission intervention from the ED to the MICU was associated with decreased ED and hospital duration of stay without altering mortality.

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