A Novel Method to Link and Validate Routinely Collected Emergency Department Clinical Data to Measure Quality of Care
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The objective was to develop and validate a method to link routinely captured electronic data for the measurement of emergency department (ED) quality indicators. Electronic ED data were linked to calculate time to antibiotics and time to electrocardiogram (ECG) for pneumonia and chest pain patients, respectively; validation was by comparison with chart data. Linked electronic data correctly identified 40/40 pneumonia and 65/65 chest pain patients. The median difference in time to antibiotics calculated from linked electronic data versus chart data was 6 minutes (standard deviation [SD] = 14.0); for time to ECG it was 0 minutes (SD = 70). The percentage of ED patients meeting target time to antibiotics was 47% with electronic data versus 44% with charts; for time to ECG, 8% met target time with electronic data versus 11% with charts. A simple computer algorithm for linking routine ED electronic data for quality-of-care measurement was validated.
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