Resource Utilization Reduction for Evaluation of Chest Pain in Pediatrics Using a Novel Standardized Clinical Assessment and Management Plan (SCAMP)

J Am Heart Assoc. 2012 Apr;1(2):jah3-e000349. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.111.000349. Epub 2012 Apr 24.


Background: Chest pain is a common reason for referral to pediatric cardiologists. Although pediatric chest pain is rarely attributable to serious cardiac pathology, extensive and costly evaluation is often performed. We have implemented a standardized approach to pediatric chest pain in our pediatric cardiology clinics as part of a broader quality improvement initiative termed Standardized Clinical Assessment and Management Plans (SCAMPs). In this study, we evaluate the impact of a SCAMP for chest pain on practice variation and resource utilization.

Methods and results: We compared demographic variables, clinical characteristics, and cardiac testing in a historical cohort (n=406) of patients presenting to our outpatient division for initial evaluation of chest pain in the most recent pre-SCAMP calendar year (2009) to patients enrolled in the chest pain SCAMP (n=364). Demographic variables including age at presentation, sex, and clinical characteristics were similar between groups. Adherence to the SCAMP algorithm for echocardiography was 84%. Practice variation decreased significantly after implementation of the SCAMP (P<0.001). The number of exercise stress tests obtained was significantly lower in the SCAMP-enrolled patients compared with the historic cohort (∼3% of patients versus 29%, respectively; P<0.001). Similarly, there was a 66% decrease in utilization of Holter monitors and 75% decrease in the use of long-term event monitors after implementation of the chest pain SCAMP (P=0.003 and P<0.001, respectively). The number of echocardiograms obtained was similar between groups.

Conclusions: Implementation of a SCAMP for evaluation of pediatric chest pain has lead to a decrease in practice variation and resource utilization. (J Am Heart Assoc. 2012;1:jah3-e000349 doi: 10.1161/JAHA.111.000349.).

Keywords: chest pain; pediatrics; quality improvement; resource utilization.