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Improving Pediatric Ovarian Torsion Evaluation in the Pediatric Emergency Department: A Quality Improvement Initiative.

BACKGROUND: Transabdominal pelvic ultrasound (TPUS) is the diagnostic test of choice for the evaluation of ovarian torsion, a time-sensitive surgical emergency. A full bladder is required to visualize the ovaries. Bladder filling is a time-consuming process leading to delays to TPUS, poor visualization of ovaries requiring repeat studies, and prolonged emergency department length of stay (ED LOS). The primary objective was to decrease the time to TPUS by standardizing the bladder filling process.

METHODS: This quality improvement initiative occurred at a single, academic, quaternary-care children's hospital ED and utilized the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Model for Improvement with sequential plan-do-study-act cycles. The first set of interventions implemented in August 2021 included a new electronic order set and bladder scan by ED nurses. Subsequent plan-do-study-act cycles aimed to decrease the time to intravenous fluid, decrease fluid requirement, and decrease the need for intravenous fluid. The primary outcome measure was the monthly mean time to TPUS. Secondary outcome measures included monthly mean ED LOS and percentage of repeat TPUS. We performed data analysis with statistical process control charts to assess for system change over time.

RESULTS: The preintervention baseline included 292 ED encounters more than 10 months, and postintervention analysis included 526 ED encounters more than 16 months. Time to TPUS decreased (138-120 min), ED LOS decreased (372-335 min), and repeat TPUS decreased (18% to 4%). All changes met the rules for special cause variation.

CONCLUSIONS: Standardizing the bladder filling process was associated with decreased time to TPUS, ED LOS, and repeat TPUS.

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