CJEM Articles: compliance
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Noncompletion of referrals to outpatient specialty clinics among patients discharged from the emergency department: a prospective cohort studyJuly 2010 12 4Jennifer Vergel de Dios, Kate Hanneman, Steven Marc Friedman
Objective: We sought to characterize patients who are referred from the emergency department (ED) to specialty clinics but do not complete the referral, and to identify reasons for their failure to follow up.
Methods: A prospective cohort study was carried out over 3 months of patients who were discharged from the ED of a teaching hospital with referral to internal medicine, cardiology or neurology clinics, but who did not complete the referral. Information on demographics, barriers to care and reasons for not completing the referral was obtained through a standardized telephone interview.
Results: Of 171 ED referrals, 42 (24.6%) were not completed. Interviews were completed for 71.4% (30 patients). Of the nonattenders, 80% were functional in English and most had high school (73.1%) or university (60.7%) education. Virtually all (93.0%) interviewees could get to hospital by themselves or have someone take them. Only 42.9% (12 patients) understood why the emergency physician (EP) requested consultation, and 42.9% (12 patients) described EP instructions as poor or fair. Primary reasons for noncompletion of consult were patient choice (46.7%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 27.1%–66.2%), physical or social barriers (13.3%, 95% CI 0.0%–27.2%), communication failure (20%, 95% CI 4.0%–36.0%) and consultant’s refusal of the consultation (20% [95% CI 4.0%–36.0%]). All consultant refusals were from one internal medicine clinic, representing 42% (8/19) of ED referrals to that clinic. None of the 6 patients interviewed who were declined consultation was aware that their consultation had been refused.
Conclusion: Patients discharged by the EP with referral to specialty clinics frequently do not complete the consultation. Causes for failure to follow up relate to patient decision, inadequate or poorly understood discharge information, and system factors. Institutional audits of patients who fail to complete follow-up may reveal unanticipated barriers to care.
Boris Sobolev, Corinne M. Hohl, Gina Tsai, Jan Jaap Bijlsma, Jeffrey R. Brubacher, Kevin Nemethy, Patricia Kretz, Peter J. Zed, Riyad B. Abu-Laban, Roy A. Purssell
Objective: Nonadherence to prescribed medication is associated with increased morbidity and mortality as well as the increased use of health services. The main objective of our study was to assess the incidence of prescription-filling and medication adherence in patients discharged from the emergency department (ED).
Methods: This was a prospective, observational study carried out at a Canadian tertiary care ED with an annual census of 69 000. We enrolled a convenience sample of patients being discharged with a prescription. We queried a provincial prescription-dispensing database 2 weeks later to determine whether prescriptions had been filled. We used a standardized follow-up interview to assess adherence and whether or not the patient experienced an adverse drug-related event (ADRE) or an unplanned revisit to an ED or clinic.
Results: Of the 301 patients who agreed to participate, follow-up was successful for 258 (85.7%). Fifty-one patients (19.8%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 15.4%-25.1%) failed to fill their discharge prescriptions and 104 (40.3%, 95% CI 34.5%-46.4%) did not adhere to 1 or more medications. Antibiotics were associated with a lower odds ratio (OR) of nonadherence (OR 0.21, 95% CI 0.08-0.52). There was a trend toward increasing nonadherence in patients who reported an ADRE (OR 1.84, 95% CI 0.98-3.48) or had 2 or more medications coprescribed (OR 1.71, 95% CI 0.95-3.09). There was also a trend toward a higher risk of a revisit to an ED or clinic in nonadherent patients (OR 1.75, 95% CI 0.94-3.25).
Conclusion: Approximately 4 in 10 patients discharged from the ED did not adhere to his or her prescribed medication. Our results suggest that patients who are prescribed antibiotics are more likely to be adherent, and that further evaluation of the associations between nonadherence, ADREs, the coprescription of 2 or more medications and the use of health services is warranted.
Emergency department patient compliance with follow-up for outpatient exercise stress testing: a randomized controlled trialNovember 2007 9 6Andrew Worster, Doug Richards, Jaqueline Chu, Kevin Eva, Nazanin Meshkat
Introduction: Numerous patients are assessed in the emergency department (ED) for chest pain suggestive of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and subsequently discharged if found to be at low risk. Exercise stress testing is frequently advised as a follow-up investigation for low-risk patients; however, compliance with such recommendations is poorly understood. We sought to determine if compliance with follow-up for exercise stress testing is higher in patients for whom the investigation is ordered at the time of ED discharge, compared with patients who are advised to arrange testing through their family physician (FP).
Methods: Low-risk chest pain patients being discharged from the ED for outpatient exercise stress test and FP follow-up were randomized into 2 groups. ED staff ordered an exercise stress test for the intervention group, and the control group was advised to contact their FP to arrange testing. The primary outcome was completion of an exercise stress test at 30 days, confirmed through both patient contact and stress test results. Patients were unaware that our primary interest was their compliance with the exercise stress testing recommendations.
Results: Two-hundred and thirty-one patients were enrolled and baseline characteristics were similar between the 2 groups. Completion of an exercise stress test at 30 days occurred in 87 out of 120 (72.5%) patients in the intervention group and 60 out of 107 (56.1%) patients in the control group. The difference in compliance rates (16.4%) between the 2 groups was statistically significant (χ2 = 6.69, p < 0.001) with a relative risk of 1.29 (95% confidence interval 1.18-1.40), and the results remained significant after a "worst case" sensitivity analysis involving 4 control group cases lost to follow-up. When subjects were contacted by telephone 30 days after the ED visit, 60% of those who were noncompliant patients felt they did not have a heart problem and that further testing was unnecessary.
Conclusion: When ED staff order an outpatient exercise stress test following investigation for potential ACS, patients are more likely to complete the test if it is booked for them before ED discharge. After discharge, many low-risk chest pain patients feel they are not at risk and do not return to their FP for further testing in a timely manner as advised. Changing to a strategy of ED booking of exercise stress testing may help earlier identification of patients with coronary heart disease.
Christopher Culligan, Collin Clarke, Jose Monzon, Kevin Shi, Steven Marc Friedman, Tamara Arenovich
Objectives: To assess patient comprehension of emergency department discharge instructions and to describe other predictors of patient compliance with discharge instructions.
Methods: Patients departing from the emergency department of an inner-city teaching hospital were invited to undergo a structured interview and reading test, and to participate in a follow-up telephone interview 2 weeks later. Two physicians, blinded to the other's data, scored patient comprehension of discharge information and compliance with discharge instructions. Inter-rater reliability was assessed using a kappa-weighted statistic, and correlations were assessed using Spearman's rank correlation coefficient and Fisher's exact test.
Results: Of 106 patients approached, 88 (83%) were enrolled. The inter-rater reliability of physician rating scores was high (kappa = 0.66). Approximately 60% of subjects demonstrated reading ability at or below a Grade 7 level. Comprehension was positively associated with reading ability (r = 0.29, p = 0.01) and English as first language (r = 0.27, p = 0.01). Reading ability was positively associated with years of education (r = 0.43, p < 0.0001) and first language (r = 0.24, p = 0.03), and inversely associated with age (r = -0.21, p = 0.05). Non-English first language and need for translator were associated with poorer comprehension of discharge instructions but not related to compliance. Compliance with discharge instructions was correlated with comprehension (r = 0.31, p = 0.01) but not associated with age, language, education, years in anglophone country, reading ability, format of discharge instructions, follow-up modality or association with a family physician.
Conclusions: Emergency department patients demonstrated poor reading skills. Comprehension was the only factor significantly related to compliance; therefore, future interventions to improve compliance with emergency department instructions will be most effective if they focus on improving comprehension.