To conduct an economic analysis of the implementation of the Ottawa Knee Rule.
The decision analysis compared usual practice based on physician judgment with practice based on a clinical decision rule, which allows more selective use of radiography. The study participants were all adults with blunt knee trauma. The likelihood and cost of radiography, missed fracture, lost productivity, and medicolegal actions were defined by published data and an expert panel. Separate analyses considered US Medicare and Canadian hospital costs. Sensitivity analyses considered a range of values for each variable in the model, including costs in a US fee-for-service setting. The study outcome was the mean cost per patient.
The mean cost savings associated with practice based on the Ottawa Knee Rule was $31 (95% confidence interval 22 to 44) to $34 (95% confidence interval 24 to 47) per patient. These results were robust to reasonable changes in the values of variables in the model.
Implementation of the Ottawa Knee Rule would be associated with meaningful reductions in societal health care costs both in the United States and Canada without a reduction in quality of care.
Comment In: Ann Emerg Med. 1999 Oct;34(4 Pt 1):535-710499954
We evaluate the international diffusion of the Ottawa Ankle and Knee Rules and determine emergency physicians' attitudes toward clinical decision rules in general.
We conducted a cross-sectional, self-administered mail survey of random samples of 500 members each of the American College of Emergency Physicians, Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, British Association for Accident and Emergency Medicine, Spanish Society for Emergency Medicine, and all members (n=1,350) of the French Speaking Society of Emergency Physicians, France. Main outcome measures were awareness of the Ottawa Ankle and Knee Rules, reported use of these rules, and attitudes toward clinical decision rules in general.
A total of 1,769 (57%) emergency physicians responded, with country-specific response rates between 49% (United States and France) and 79% (Canada). More than 69% of physicians in all countries, except Spain, were aware of the Ottawa Ankle Rules. Use of the Ottawa Ankle Rules differed by country with more than 70% of all responding Canadian and United Kingdom physicians reporting frequent use of the rules compared with fewer than one third of US, French, and Spanish physicians. The Ottawa Knee Rule was less well known and less used by physicians in all countries. Most physicians in all countries viewed decision rules as intended to improve the quality of health care (>78%), a convenient source of advice (>67%), and good educational tools (>61%). Of all physicians, those from the United States held the least positive attitudes toward decision rules.
This constitutes the largest international survey of emergency physicians' attitudes toward and use of clinical decision rules. Striking differences were apparent among countries with regard to knowledge and use of decision rules. Despite similar awareness in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, US physicians appeared much less likely to use the Ottawa Ankle Rules. Future research should investigate factors leading to differences in rates of diffusion among countries and address strategies to enhance dissemination and implementation of such rules in the emergency department.
The Canadian Atrial Fibrillation Anticoagulation Study was a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial to assess the potential of warfarin to reduce systemic thromboembolism and its inherent risk of hemorrhage. As a result of the publication of two other "positive" studies of similar design and objective, this study was stopped early before completion of its planned recruitment of 630 patients. There were 187 patients randomized to warfarin and 191 to placebo. Permanent discontinuation of study medication occurred in 26% of warfarin-treated and 23% of placebo-treated patients. The target range of the international normalized ratio was 2 to 3. For the warfarin-treated patients, the international normalized ratio was in the target range 43.7% of the study days, above it 16.6% of the study days and below it 39.6% of the study days. Fatal or major bleeding occurred at annual rates of 2.5% in warfarin-treated and 0.5% in placebo-treated patients. Minor bleeding occurred in 16% of patients receiving warfarin and 9% receiving placebo. The primary outcome event cluster was nonlacunar stroke, noncentral nervous systemic embolism and fatal or intracranial hemorrhage. Events were included in the primary analysis of efficacy if they occurred within 28 days of permanent discontinuation of the study medication. The annual rates of the primary outcome event cluster were 3.5% in warfarin-treated and 5.2% in placebo-treated patients, with a relative risk reduction of 37% (95% confidence limits, -63.5%, 75.5%, p = 0.17).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
High levels of variation and inefficiency exist in current clinical practice regarding use of cervical spine (C-spine) radiography in alert and stable trauma patients.
To derive a clinical decision rule that is highly sensitive for detecting acute C-spine injury and will allow emergency department (ED) physicians to be more selective in use of radiography in alert and stable trauma patients.
Prospective cohort study conducted from October 1996 to April 1999, in which physicians evaluated patients for 20 standardized clinical findings prior to radiography. In some cases, a second physician performed independent interobserver assessments.
Ten EDs in large Canadian community and university hospitals.
Convenience sample of 8924 adults (mean age, 37 years) who presented to the ED with blunt trauma to the head/neck, stable vital signs, and a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 15.
Clinically important C-spine injury, evaluated by plain radiography, computed tomography, and a structured follow-up telephone interview. The clinical decision rule was derived using the kappa coefficient, logistic regression analysis, and chi(2) recursive partitioning techniques.
Among the study sample, 151 (1.7%) had important C-spine injury. The resultant model and final Canadian C-Spine Rule comprises 3 main questions: (1) is there any high-risk factor present that mandates radiography (ie, age >/=65 years, dangerous mechanism, or paresthesias in extremities)? (2) is there any low-risk factor present that allows safe assessment of range of motion (ie, simple rear-end motor vehicle collision, sitting position in ED, ambulatory at any time since injury, delayed onset of neck pain, or absence of midline C-spine tenderness)? and (3) is the patient able to actively rotate neck 45 degrees to the left and right? By cross-validation, this rule had 100% sensitivity (95% confidence interval [CI], 98%-100%) and 42.5% specificity (95% CI, 40%-44%) for identifying 151 clinically important C-spine injuries. The potential radiography ordering rate would be 58.2%.
We have derived the Canadian C-Spine Rule, a highly sensitive decision rule for use of C-spine radiography in alert and stable trauma patients. If prospectively validated in other cohorts, this rule has the potential to significantly reduce practice variation and inefficiency in ED use of C-spine radiography.
Comment In: JAMA. 2002 Feb 6;287(5):583-411829682
Comment In: JAMA. 2001 Oct 17;286(15):1893-411597293
Comment In: JAMA. 2002 Feb 6;287(5):583; author reply 58411829681
There is much controversy about the use of computed tomography (CT) for patients with minor head injury. We aimed to develop a highly sensitive clinical decision rule for use of CT in patients with minor head injuries.
We carried out this prospective cohort study in the emergency departments of ten large Canadian hospitals and included consecutive adults who presented with a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of 13-15 after head injury. We did standardised clinical assessments before the CT scan. The main outcome measures were need for neurological intervention and clinically important brain injury on CT.
The 3121 patients had the following characteristics: mean age 38.7 years); GCS scores of 13 (3.5%), 14 (16.7%), 15 (79.8%); 8% had clinically important brain injury; and 1% required neurological intervention. We derived a CT head rule which consists of five high-risk factors (failure to reach GCS of 15 within 2 h, suspected open skull fracture, any sign of basal skull fracture, vomiting >2 episodes, or age >65 years) and two additional medium-risk factors (amnesia before impact >30 min and dangerous mechanism of injury). The high-risk factors were 100% sensitive (95% CI 92-100%) for predicting need for neurological intervention, and would require only 32% of patients to undergo CT. The medium-risk factors were 98.4% sensitive (95% CI 96-99%) and 49.6% specific for predicting clinically important brain injury, and would require only 54% of patients to undergo CT.
We have developed the Canadian CT Head Rule, a highly sensitive decision rule for use of CT. This rule has the potential to significantly standardise and improve the emergency management of patients with minor head injury.
Prospective validation on a new set of patients is an essential test of a new decision rule. However, many clinical decision rules are not prospectively assessed to determine their accuracy, reliability, clinical sensibility, or potential impact on practice. This validation process is important because many statistically derived rules or guidelines do not perform well when tested in a new population. The methodologic standards for a validation study are similar to those described in the article on phase I for derivation studies in the August 2001 issue of Annals of Emergency Medicine. The goal of phase II is to prospectively assess the accuracy, reliability, and acceptability of the decision rule in a new set of patients with minor head injury. This will determine the clinical utility of the rule and is essential if such a rule is to be widely adopted into clinical practice.
Head injuries are among the most common types of trauma seen in North American emergency departments, with an estimated 1 million cases seen annually. "Minor" head injury (sometimes known as "mild") is defined by a history of loss of consciousness, amnesia, or disorientation in a patient who is conscious and talking, that is, with a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 13 to 15. Although most patients with minor head injury can be discharged without sequelae after a period of observation, in a small proportion, their neurologic condition deteriorates and requires neurosurgical intervention for intracranial hematoma. The objective of the Canadian CT Head Rule Study is to develop an accurate and reliable decision rule for the use of computed tomography (CT) in patients with minor head injury. Such a decision rule would allow physicians to be more selective in their use of CT without compromising care of patients with minor head injury. This paper describes in detail the rationale, objectives, and methodology for Phase I of the study in which the decision rule was derived. [Stiell IG, Lesiuk H, Wells GA, McKnight RD, Brison R, Clement C, Eisenhauer MA, Greenberg GH, MacPhail I, Reardon M, Worthington J, Verbeek R, Rowe B, Cass D, Dreyer J, Holroyd B, Morrison L, Schull M, Laupacis A, for the Canadian CT Head and C-Spine Study Group. The Canadian CT Head Rule Study for patients with minor head injury: rationale, objectives, and methodology for phase I (derivation). Ann Emerg Med. August 2001;38:160-169.]
Comment In: Ann Emerg Med. 2002 Mar;39(3):348-911867999
To measure the incremental cost-effectiveness of various improvements to emergency medical services (EMS) systems aimed at increasing survival after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
We performed cost-effectiveness analysis based on (1) metaanalysis of effectiveness of the various EMS systems, (2) costing of each component of EMS systems, (3) modeling of the relationship between the proportion of cardiac arrest victims who receive CPR and the proportion of individuals trained, (4) modeling of the relationship between response time interval and the characteristics of the EMS system, (5) measurement of quality of life, and (6) decision analysis to combine the results of the first five components.
The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for a 48-second improvement in mean response time in a one-tier EMS system yielded by the addition of more EMS providers was $368,000 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY). For improved response time in a two-tier EMS system by the addition of more basic life support (BLS)/BLS-defibrillator (BLS-D) providers to the first tier, the ratio was $53,000 per QALY with pump vehicles or $159,000 per QALY with ambulances. Change from a one-tier EMS to a two-tier EMS system by the addition of initial BLS/BLS-D providers in pump vehicles as the first tier was associated with a cost per QALY of $40,000. Change from one-tier EMS to two-tier EMS by the addition of initial BLS/BLS-D providers in ambulances as the first tier was associated with a cost per QALY of $94,000.
The most attractive options in terms of incremental cost-effectiveness were improved response time in a two-tier EMS system or change from a one-tier to a two-tier EMS system. Future research should be directed toward identification of the costs of instituting the first tier of a two-tier EMS system and identification of cost-effective methods of improving response time.
To conduct an incremental cost-effectiveness analysis of implementation of the Ottawa Ankle Rules in emergency departments in the United States and Canada.
A decision analytic approach to technology assessment. Clinical decision rules that allow physicians to be more selective in their use of radiography were compared with current practice in a decision analytic model.
A university hospital adult ED.
ED physicians instructed in the use of the Ottawa Ankle Rules for adult patients with ankle injury.
Radiography, waiting time, lost productivity, and medicolegal costs were calculated. In the United States, the savings varied between US$614,226 and US$3,145,910 per 100,000 patients, depending on the charge rate for radiography. In Ontario, Canada, the total savings were CAN$730,145 per 100,000 patients. One- and two-way sensitivity analyses that varied the rate of missed fractures, cost of radiography, probability of lawsuits, and cost of lawsuits did not change the results substantially.
Implementation of the Ottawa Ankle Rules would result in significant savings of health care dollars despite the cost of missed fractures including litigation costs.