Results for Queensland University of Technology


From Big Data to the Bedside: answering big questions in emergency department pain care using artificial intelligence and patient-reported outcomes

One of the main reasons that acute pain is not well treated in the emergency department (ED) setting is that pain is difficult to measure. While patient-reported outcome measures (PROMS) are commonly used to help guide treatment of pain in settings such as chronic pain care, cancer care and migraine care, there are no similar tools available for patients with acute pain in the ED. Further hampering efforts to provide better ED pain care is poor overall understanding of the numbers and types of patients that experience pain.

Since it is a symptom rather than a diagnosis, information about pain is not systematically collected and is often obscured within free-text clinical notes. The lack of readily-available data makes it difficult to determine who exactly has experienced pain, and to design research studies to evaluate new and existing treatments.

Researchers aim to validate a PROM for pain care in the ED by administering to 400 patients who present with pain to one of two large hospital EDs. The aim is to find out the incidence and characteristics of patients who present with pain to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital ED, by using novel machine- and deep-learning techniques to process free-text information from clinical notes. This study will provide new knowledge and techniques that are essential for clinician-researchers to design and conduct studies that will ultimately improve pain care in the ED.

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PaNURAMA Inter-facility Transfer Tool: a validation study of the Paediatric Non-Urgent, Risk Assessment, Management and nurse escort Assessment Tool for safe children’s inter-facility Transfer

Most paediatric inter-facility transfers within Australia are for children that do not qualify for specialist paediatric retrieval services but still require access to specialised paediatric care not offered at the local healthcare facility.

Evidence-based transfer guidance for children requiring retrieval are well established. However, for children who do not meet retrieval criteria, there is little guidance for referring and accepting clinicians on how to coordinate safe transfer. Nurse escorts are often deployed but may not be trained sufficiently to deal with arising complications during transfer. Additionally, with the availability and scope of paramedics, the deployment of nurse escorts may not be required, and unecessarily deplete valuable resources at referring facilities.

A risk stratification tool has been developed to determine which non-urgent transfers require higher level consultation and management prior to and during transfer, and nursing escort. The validation of this tool may assist to accurately identify higher-risk children, enabling application of appropriate safeguards, an appropriate level of consultation and escort, and supporting clinician decision-making surrounding transport Australia-wide.

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Modelling emergency department patient flow under normal operating conditions and in a pandemic

Patient flow in emergency departments (ED) is impeded when the number of patients exceed physical and/or staffing capacity. This is often referred to as crowding, and is common problem for EDs across the country, adversely impacting patients, staff and the healthcare system.

While many strategies have been reported and trialled to mitigate the consequences of crowding and address its causes, there is no one solution that fits all EDs.

Researchers propose to develop and test a computer model to mimic the ED, simulating patient flow to provide forecasts that can inform policy makers. This is especially important in periods of anticipated high demand for emergency services such as in the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Emergency doctors will team-up with academic researchers to model patient flow in the emergency department to consider operational changes and provide knowledge to guide decision-making for improvement strategies that will lead to faster, more effective patient care, better outcomes and more effective, economical choices.

This innovative collaboration between doctors and university researchers aims to solve real-life system-level problems affecting patient care. The research will generate practical outcomes that improve clinical practice at a system level so that we can better care for our patients.

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Providing a safe and efficient method of chest pain assessment

In this project we will evaluate a new pathway for assessing chest pain in the emergency department. The pathway is designed to reduce the costs of managing patients at low-risk of heart attack without compromising patient safety. The cost savings are estimated to be around $95 million if implemented Australia-wide, with the bulk of the cost reduction being through decreased length of stay in the emergency department.

The new pathway will be implemented at three Queensland hospitals. Data collected before and after the implementation of this pathway will be used to assess 1) whether it results in a shorter length of stay in hospital, 2) whether it is safe for identifying heart attack, and 3) whether it reduces healthcare utilisation and healthcare costs.
Over 450,000 patients present to an Australian emergency department with chest pain every year. The current approach to rule out heart attack for these patients is lengthy and costly, taking up to 26 hours at a cost of $2,127 per patient.

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Valuing patients’ experience in the emergency department

Improving patient experiences is part of Queensland’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan to enable safe, quality healthcare services. Yet, current emergency department(ED) patient experience measures, including the burdensome 82-item Queensland Health (QH) ED patient experience survey, fail to reflect patient preferences for care experiences, inhibiting the design and evaluation of healthcare services that reflect patient preferences, and the delivery of value-based healthcare.

The aim of this project is to develop an ED patient experience classification system and accompanying scoring algorithm that can be used to both measure and value patient experiences in Queensland EDs. It will provide a proof of concept for an Australia-wide development, valuation and knowledge transfer study.

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Junior doctors at triage improve patient flow in the ED

Introducing a novel model of care to the emergency department may provide significant reductions in key performance indicators, such as patient length of stay, or the National Emergency Access Target (NEAT).

In previous studies, researchers have found that rostering a physician to work at triage can lead to significant improvements on a range of metrics, including time to treatment, patient length of stay and rate of patients who left before receiving treatment. However, in a regional hospital where staffing numbers and budgets are under pressure this model may not be possible.

The objective of this study is to implement a novel model of care at triage in the Hervey Bay Hospital Emergency Department. For a trial period of three months, junior doctors (PHO/registrar level) will be rostered to work at triage on alternate day shifts. A range of outcome measures will be compared with day shifts when junior doctors are not rostered at triage. This model may be relevant for other regional emergency departments.

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STOPAsthmaQLD

Grass pollen is the major outdoor allergen globally and grass pollen exposure has an important measurable and manageable impact on the medical burden of asthma. We propose investigating the role of allergy status on triggers for asthma in patients visiting hospital emergency departments in two regions of south east Queensland over a two year period, coinciding with NHMRC and ARC funded environmental health research led by collaborator CI Davies.

Data on weather and pollen exposure will be integrated with direct assessment of specific IgE profiles and respiratory viral triggers of asthma. Patients, including children over 12 years, presenting with primary diagnosis of asthma to a major urban hospital in a subtropical region and rural hospitals in the temperate regions of the Darling Downs will be recruited with informed consent.

Outcomes of this study are expected to inform need for utilising local current pollen exposure information to manage emergency department demand surges and underpin better management of pollen allergies outside of hospital by allergy physician and general practice.

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Capacity Building Grant – third year: Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital

The Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) Emergency and Trauma Centre (E&TC) is committed to research as a way to improve both patient outcomes and the delivery of emergency care services. With the support of competitive grants from funding bodies, the E&TC has rapidly established a reputation for high quality, medically-oriented clinical and health services research. Our capacity and support for such work has resulted in international collaborations, publications in leading journals and translation of findings into clinical practice with tangible benefits to both patients and health services. Despite these successes, several years ago we recognised that there were still barriers to participation in research by emergency nursing and allied health clinicians.

It was evident that dedicated senior research support was required, which prompted our Capacity Building application to EMF in 2015. The resulting conjoint senior nurse research role was first occupied in 2017 and, in less than 18 months, has energized nursing and allied health clinicians to define key research questions, collaborate across disciplines and institutions, apply for funding, design and conduct research studies, publish manuscripts, present at professional meetings, and enrol in research higher degrees.

In applying to extend the funding for the conjoint senior nurse research fellow to a third year we acknowledge the essential contribution this position makes to our research capacity and to the development of individual nursing and allied health staff into effective clinician-researchers. Together with the commitments already received from RBWH and Queensland University of Technology, a third year of EMF funding will enable the full expectations of this conjoint position to be realized, thereby maximising the likelihood of attracting future recurrent funding.

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Single centre validation of the Canadian Syncope Risk Score

Syncope is a transient loss of consciousness with full recovery, and is a common presenting problem to the emergency department (ED). Most patients presenting with syncope have a benign cause, but others may be at risk for serious adverse outcomes. The problem is that there is currently no validated tool for knowing which patients are at risk and which can be safely discharged. Several clinical prediction rules have been developed over the years, however the sensitivity and specificity of these rules vary. This has led to an over-admission of patients who could otherwise be safely discharged, based on clinician discretion. These patients are subjected to multiple tests, including cardiac telemetry for monitoring which not only has low yield, but also results in significant costs to the healthcare system.

The Canadian Syncope Risk Score (CSRS) is the latest decision tool developed in an attempt to predict serious outcomes in patients presenting with syncope to the ED, but it has not yet been validated. This study aims to validate the CSRS at a single site, providing the first step in guiding clinicians to make better risk assessments and disposition decisions for patients with syncope. Furthermore, an innovative economic model will assess the impact of this decision tool on the healthcare system. This project is the first, critical phase toward better informed decision-making by clinicians for patients with syncope. Ultimately, this tool will enable a change to clinical practice that will result in improved patient outcomes and enhanced, targeted healthcare delivery.

Pictured to the right: Members of the Syncope research team from left to right: Ms Helena Cooney, Dr Alan Yan, Dr Jason Chan, Dr Emma Ballard (QIMR), Dr Jonathan Hunter and Dr David Brain (AusHSI)

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A brief psychological intervention to promote recovery after mild traumatic brain injury

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is a common injury with potentially profound consequences. Although many patients recover within a few days to a few weeks, an estimated 15-40% develop post-concussion syndrome (PCS), which consists of an array of cognitive, emotional, and physical symptoms.(TBI symptoms that persist beyond three months often develop into a chronic, potentially life-long, health problem.) PCS is associated with problems returning to work, social difficulties, higher healthcare utilisation, and poorer quality of life. The mitigation of PCS represents a significant clinical problem. An effective evidence-based early intervention to prevent PCS is sorely needed.

There is a growing consensus that differences in patient outcomes from mTBI are due to a range of biopsychosocial factors. For example, stress, anxiety, cognitive biases, sleep disturbance, and structural brain damage are among a number of factors that influence PCS symptom report. A focus on modifiable psychosocial factors (e.g., thoughts and behaviours) offers a promising solution: Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT) is well suited to altering the maladaptive beliefs, misattributions, cognitive biases and coping behaviours that promote chronicity in PCS.

The purpose of this study wass to examine the feasibility and effectiveness of a Cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy (CBT)-based early intervention for patients at high-risk of developing PCS after mTBI.

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Improving jellyfish sting treatment

EMF funding is improving emergency care for the elderly

Trauma: better treatment for severe bleeding

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