Background: It is believed that patients who return to the Emergency Department (ED) and require admission are thought to represent failures in diagnosis, treatment or discharge planning. Screening readmission rates or patients who return within 72 h have been used in ED Quality Assurance efforts. These metrics require significant effort in chart review and only rarely identify care deviations.
Objective: This study was conducted to evaluate the yield of reviewing ED return visits that resulted in an ICU admission. This study was conducted to evaluate the yield of reviewing ED return visits that resulted in an ICU admission. We planned to assess if the return visits with ICU admission were associated with deviations in care, and secondarily, to understand the common causes of error in this group.
Methods: Retrospective review of patients presenting to a university affiliated ED between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2015 and returned within 14 days requiring ICU admission.
Results: From 1,106,606 ED visits, 511 patients returned within 14 days and were admitted to an ICU. 223 patients returned for a reason related to the index visit (43.6%). Of these related returns, 31 (13.9%) had a deviation in care on the index visit. When a standard diagnostic process of care framework was applied to these 31 cases, 47.3% represented failures in the initial diagnostic pathway.
Conclusion: Reviewing 14-day returns leading to ICU admission, while an uncommon event, has a higher yield in the understanding of quality issues involving diagnostic as well as systems errors.
Keywords: Diagnostic error; Emergency medicine; Healthcare; Hospitals; Medical errors; Quality indicators; Quality of healthcare; University.
Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Inc.