CINCINNATIDefining what constitutes quality careespecially in a large, urban hospitalisnt easy.
University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers, however, are addressing the nationwide problem with a unique system to reduce medical errors and improve patient care in local hospital emergency departments.
Although guidelines for care on select disease conditions may be available in some emergency departments, the UC researchers believe they are the first to develop a comprehensive, evidence-based online system that covers numerous conditions from triage and diagnosis to treatment and discharge.
Weve been developing a system for the last three years to establish evidence-based guidelines and forms for nurses and physicians to use for every aspect of the patients pathway through the emergency department, says Stewart Wright, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine.
The development and results of the initiative, called the Committee for Procedural Quality and Evidence-Based Practice (CPQE), are reported in the June 26 early online version of Annals of Emergency Medicine.
Many reports have been published on patients suffering from medical care that isnt evidence-based, or supported by clinical research that establishes the optimal approach to care for a particular disease, says Brian Gibler, MD, chairman of UCs department of emergency medicine. We wanted to assess how we were doing in our emergency practice and how we could improve.
Our emergency physicians work in three emergency departments in Cincinnatiat University, Christ and Jewish hospitalswhich makes it difficult to standardize care, he says.
A centralized committee like the CPQE, which focuses on quality care in the emergency department is critical to developing easily accessible, standardized guidelines and protocols, allowing us to provide care that is high quality and uniform at all three hospitals.