To admit or not to admit: Research examines emergency physician decision-making to improve patient safety

December 18, 2013

Two new studies led by Dr. Lisa Calder suggest that emergency physicians need more evidence-based tools to help them decide when to admit a patient for further care and when to release them to the community. One study, published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, looked at 1,700 patients with heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Results showed that most adverse events in these patients were related to unsafe discharge decisions. Another study, published in the Emergency Medicine Journal, found that emergency physicians usually rely primarily on their own clinical judgment when making discharge decisions, often because there are no evidence-based guidelines or tools available. Dr. Calder is now working with Dr. Ian Stiell and others to develop the world’s first validated decision rules for emergency department discharge decisions for patients with heart failure and COPD.

Funders: Physician Services Incorporated; Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa; Emergency Medicine Patient Safety Foundation; Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

About the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and is an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, closely associated with the university’s Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences. OHRI includes more than 1,700 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease. 

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