Emergency department (ED) waiting times are a significant predictor of the patient experience.
Simple prediction methods, such as rolling average, are used by hospitals in Australia to predict waiting time for patients. Although this approach is inexpensive to implement, the forecasts have limited accuracy and consequently most Australian hospital EDs do not report expected waiting times to the public.
A solution that is capable of sourcing data from ED information systems and feed it into prediction models to generate waiting time forecasts would bring practical benefits for staff and patients. There is also potential to assist clinicians and nurses to estimate demand for care and calibrate workflow.
For patients, the knowledge may reduce anxiety associated with uncertainty about the waiting time and reduce the number of patients who leave before treatment.
This project aims to use advanced statistical models and machine-learning algorithms to capture dynamic fluctuations in waiting time, to implement and validate the prediction performance of these models. The project will also build ED research capacity by educating staff on forecast modelling and data management techniques.READ MORE
From a health perspective, a disaster overwhelms the normal operating capacity of a health service, where an outside health response is required to restore and maintain the normal day-to-day health services and standards of care for the disaster-affected community. The Australian healthcare system is tested annually with disasters of a conventional nature (e.g., floods, cyclones, bushfires), however, the Australian healthcare system has not been recently tested by non-conventional disasters such as Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and explosive (CBRNe) disasters. As a result, the ability to determine the healthcare system response is difficult. Further, there is no research specific to the Australian emergency department’s capacity for disaster response in CBRNe events.
This study addresses this gap. We will use a mixed methods approach to undertake two discrete, yet related studies. Study 1 involves undertaking surveys with key emergency disaster personnel from seven Queensland hospitals to describe the capacity of hospital emergency care services ability to respond following a CBRNe disaster. Study 2 includes undertaking focus groups with key clinicians and leaders from the participating sites to identify and explore enablers and barriers within emergency care services to provide CBRNe disaster response. Findings from these studies will provide an evidence base regarding the capacity for several Queensland emergency departments, located in metropolitan, regional and rural settings, to respond to disasters.READ MORE
Patients presenting to the Princess Alexandra Hospital Emergency Department with dermatological conditions present a significant demand on resources. It is estimated that in many Emergency Departments (ED) at least one in 25 patients present with a skin condition. Many dermatological presentations may be better managed in an alternative environment either because they are non-urgent or require more specialised and expert care. This project aims to better understand the presentation of skin conditions to a large adult Queensland ED. The research will describe the current diagnosis and management of this cohort to the ED, assess the resource implications and understand the rationale for the patients attending ED instead of a General Practice clinic. The data will provide the information for determining the need for increased GP support such a expansion of tele-dermatology services or for the creation of a local or district acute dermatology clinic.READ MORE
Paracetamol is the commonest medications taken in overdose and is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the developed world. The antidote, acetylcysteine, which replenishes liver glutathione was developed in the 1970’s. However the regimen (20 hours duration) was never subjected to either a randomised controlled trial or any dose ranging studies. The regimen gives a large loading dose and the remainder of the infusion (20 hours) is given to mirror the time taken for paracetamol to be cleared by the liver. This time is only an average and depends on the degree of liver damage. For normal livers it is much shorter (12 hours).
The aim of the study is to compare acetylcysteine given over 20 hours compared to 12 hours for patients presenting early with paracetamol overdose to see if it provides the same protection against liver damage. The research design will be a multicentre non inferiority per protocol unblinded randomised controlled trial of a 20 hour versus a 12 hour regimen of acetylcysteine in paracetamol overdose. The study will be undertaken at the Princes Alexandra, Calvary Mater Newcastle and Prince of Wales hospitals. Eligible patients will be paracetamol overdoses less than 30g presenting within 8 hours of ingestion.READ MORE
Dr Colin Page was awarded the Noel Stevenson Fellowship (in honour of eminent Queensland emergency medicine physician, Dr Noel Stevenson) to undertake a Doctorate of Philosophy (PHD). Dr Page is studying the antidotes and treatments that are commonly used by medical staff when looking after patients who are affected by drug toxicity. The PhD will be based at Princess Alexandra Hospital within the clinical toxicology unit with extension to other toxicology units/hospitals within Australia. It will be undertaken through the University of Newcastle (NSW) under the supervision of A/Prof Geoff Isbister and Prof Nicholas Buckley, who are both leaders in clinical toxicology research publications.
Dr Page has developed a clinical toxicology service at Princess Alexandra Hospital and Queensland through a locally run clinical toxicology unit and is the honorary medical director of the Queensland Poisons Information Centre. Clinical toxicology is the speciality that manages patients who are affected by drug toxicity either accidentally or in overdose. The project will primarily research antidotes and other treatments that are used in the management of toxicology patients. This will allow the introduction of safer treatments, new treatments and progressing the scientific basis behind treatments used in clinical toxicology.READ MORE
The Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) Emergency Department is a designated Level 6 Trauma Centre. In 2012, in excess of 50,000 patients presented to the PAH ED, of which more than 35 per cent were admitted.
Clinical expertise within the PAH ED is wide, with specific disease emphasis in toxicology, chronic disease, multi-system disease associated with the elderly population, cardiovascular disease, sepsis and septic shock, infectious diseases and critical care.
The PAH ED is a tertiary referral hospital for trainees of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine and excels in service delivery and education; areas in which it has a national reputation for excellence.
The outcome from Phase 1 of the QEMRF funded three-year plan to increase research capacity within the PAH ED was successful with all key performance indicators being exceeded.
Phase 2 will build on the platform created in Phase 1 focusing on research promoting prevention or control of diseases.
The vision for research within the PAH ED is that the ED will be regarded as a leader in emergency medicine research attracting clinical and research staff and producing outcomes which will change clinical practice and improve the health and well-being of patients.
Two-thirds of people who sustain trauma to the upper limb proximal artery die from traumatic blood loss before reaching hospital. Timely stabilization of the injury, control of bleeding, and rapid transportation to an emergency department could dramatically improve the rate of survival. We know from research that these measures dramatically approval the rate of survival for traumatic injuries of other parts of the body. In this study, we will test the safety and efficacy of a particular procedure that we predict will improve the management of these injuries in the pre-hospital setting. We predict that the use of this procedure by paramedics on patients while in transit can improve patient outcomes. The study will test the safety and efficacy of a technique we refer to as therapeutic subclavian artery compression (TSAC). We argue that this relatively simple procedure may successfully control arterial bleeding in the proximal part of the upper limb, and prevent death from traumatic blood loss.READ MORE
“Blind Prescribing” describes the situation where a medical practitioner prescribes a medication they know little about.
Theoretically, ‘blind prescribing’ could lead to higher rates of medication error and unsafe medical practice. The project aims to determine if Blind Prescribing occurs in emergency medicine, to identify the prevalence of the practice, and propose situational and contextual factors pertinent to Emergency medicine that are thought to enable this practice.
Effective hand washing and hand hygiene are universally recognized as the simplest ways to prevent the spread of infection. As well as limiting the spread of disease, hand washing is one of the few effective ways to reduce the development of antibiotic resistant infections. Despite this, many studies have shown that hand hygiene and compliance best-practice standards is universally poor amongst doctors and nurses working in hospitals. Previous studies have identified many factors reported to affect hand washing compliance. The time to undertake hand hygiene, the individual’s knowledge of hand hygiene techniques, their attitudes towards its importance, workloads, and the context in which they work are all known to influence hand hygiene practices.
One important factor known to influence hand hygiene factors is the availability and accessibility of equipment to carry out effective hand hygiene, such as antiseptic solutions. It is well-documented that compliance with hand hygiene is directly proportional to the accessibility and availability of products to decontaminate hands. In the context of the emergency department, where there are significant time and resource pressures, the time it takes to undertake hand hygiene and the accessibility of products to do so are important. Despite this, little evidence exists that examines the relationship between the positioning of hand hygiene solutions relative to the sink and its effect on hand hygiene compliance.READ MORE
Healthcare workers in emergency departments are at high risk of exposure to blood-borne infections from occupational exposure. The financial and human costs of these injuries are significant. The risks such health care workers face are made more difficult in recent times because of three interconnected reasons. First, emergency care workers are at high risk of occupational exposures because of the nature of their work and the environment they operate in. They work in highly volatile and high-stakes situations. Second, emergency departments face unprecedented demands for emergency medical care. With increased numbers of patients, waiting times for medical treatment inevitably increase, leading to patient dissatisfaction, aggression and violence, larger and heavier workloads, decreased patient and staff satisfaction, and higher staff turnover and burnout. Third, emergency physicians are routinely called upon to manage healthcare workers who have sustained these occupational exposure injuries. The more patients there are, the more at risk emergency physicians and others are at risk of occupational exposures.
These injuries are largely preventable. Emergency physicians have key roles to play with their prevention, but lack a rigorous reporting system and sensitive data management system with a universal regulatory framework to do so. While national guidelines exist to govern the clinical management of such injuries, there is no consistency of regulatory and legislative workplace health and safety frameworks in which emergency physicians are required to operate across the country, making their prevention, control and management by emergency physicians highly problematic. This study will provide a definitive systematic review of the legislative and regulatory workplace health and safety frameworks governing the management, control and prevention of occupational exposures across Australia. Moreover, the study will provide baseline data and pilot research for a larger study that suggests the development of a culture of patient safety within the emergency department and the wider hospital environment first requires a culture of staff safety. For the true financial and human costs of occupational exposures to be known, it is critical to gauge the extent the problem. When we consider the estimated under-reporting in the United States or Australia, where it is estimated that up to 85% of occupational exposures are not reported due to the systematic under-reporting of sharps injuries, the financial and human costs associated with occupational exposures are significant.READ MORE