Facilitators and Barriers to Reducing Emergency Department Admissions for Chest Pain: A Qualitative Study.
Authors of this article are:
Lin MP, Natsui S, Sinnette C, Ball A, Weissman JS, Schuur JD.
A summary of the article is shown below:
BACKGROUND: Chest pain of possible cardiac etiology is a leading reason for emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations nationwide. Evidence suggests outpatient management is safe and effective for low-risk patients; however, ED admission rates for chest pain vary widely. To identify barriers and facilitators to outpatient management after ED visits, we performed a multicenter qualitative study of key stakeholders.METHODS AND RESULTS: We identified Massachusetts hospitals with below-average admission rates for adult ED chest pain visits from 2010 to 2011. We performed a qualitative case study of 27 stakeholders across 4 hospitals to identify barriers and facilitators to outpatient management. Clinicians cited ability to coordinate follow-up care, including stress testing and cardiology consultation, as key facilitators of ED discharge. When these services are unavailable, or inconsistently available, they present a barrier to outpatient management. Clinicians identified pressure to maintain throughput and the lack of observation units as barriers to ED discharge. At 3 of 4 hospitals without observation units, clinicians did not use clinical protocols to guide the admission decision. At the site with a dedicated ED observation unit, low ED admission rates were attributed to clinician adherence to clinical protocols.CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, most participants have not adopted protocols focused on reducing variation in ED chest pain admissions. Robust systems to ensure follow-up care after ED visits may reduce admission rates by mitigating the perceived risk of discharging ED patients with chest pain. Greater use of observation protocols may promote adoption of clinical guidelines and reduce admission rates.
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