Medical error prevention in ED triage for ACS: use of cardiac care decision support and quality improvement feedback

Cardiol Clin. 2005 Nov;23(4):601-14, ix. doi: 10.1016/j.ccl.2005.08.004.


Medical errors in the care of patients who present with acute coronary syndrome (ACS)include errors in emergency department (ED) triage, such as the decision to send home a patient who presents with ACS or to hospitalize a patient who does not have ACS to the cardiac care unit (CCU), and errors in treatment, such as the failure to promptly use reperfusion therapy for patients who present with ST-elevation acute myocardial infarction(AMI). ECG-based acute cardiac ischemia time-insensitive predictive instrument(ACI-TIPI) and thrombolytic predictive instruments (TPIs), with a linked TIPI information system (TIPI-IS), provide real-time, concurrent, and retrospective decision support tools and feedback for the prevention of medical errors in the care of patients who present with ACS. In real-time, ACI-TIPI probabilities printed on the ECG header for the ED physician, provide an additional piece of information for triage decision making, and the ACI-TIPI Risk Management form reduces liability risk by prompting consideration and documentation of key clinical factors in the diagnosis of ACI. Also in real-time, the TPI increases overall coronary reperfusion therapy use. Concurrent flagging by TIPI-IS uses electronically acquired ECG and hospital data to provide concurrent alerts about potential misdiagnosis or mis-triage of patients with ACS. Retrospectively TIPI-IS-based feedback reports allow performance improvement. These examples of information technology tools integrated into ECG equipment already used in hospitals to deliver patient care demonstrate the potential to adapt other existing equipment or other patient care activities to enhance patient safety and error reduction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Angina, Unstable / diagnosis*
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical*
  • Diagnostic Errors / prevention & control*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care
  • Syndrome
  • Triage*