Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association

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The effect of the National Emergency Access Target on Chest Pain assessment in the Emergency Department.

James Hughes , CJ Cabilan , Andrew Staib , Caitlin Young


Objectives. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between compliance with time-based Emergency Department (ED) targets (known as NEAT) and the time taken to collect an electrocardiogram (TTE) in patients presenting with chest pain. Methods. This was a pilot descriptive retrospective cohort study completed in a large inner city tertiary ED. Patients who presented with active or recent chest pain between July 2014 and June 2015 were eligible for inclusion. Pregnant patients, inter-hospital transfers, and traumatic chest pain were excluded. A random selection of 300 patients from the eligible cohort comprised the final sample. The differences of TTE between categories of NEAT compliance were compared using Kruskal-Wallis test. Also, the factors affecting with the acquisition of ECG within ten minutes of arrival were explored using proportional hazards regression. Results. There was a significant inverse association between the percentage of admitted patients leaving the ED within four hours (admitted NEAT) and TTE. As admitted NEAT compliance increased TTE decreased (p = 0.004). A number of variables including triage score, arrival time, total NEAT, first location, doctor wait time, and cardiac diagnosis were all significant predictors of TTE. After adjusting for other variables Admitted NEAT remained as an independent predictor of TTE. Conclusion. There is likely to be a relationship between NEAT and TTE that is reflective of overall hospital and not just ED functioning; however the exact relationship remains uncertain. Further study in a multisite study is warranted to further explore the relationship between NEAT, TTE and other important clinical metrics of ED performance.

AH16263  Accepted 01 February 2017

© CSIRO 2017