Preparation and Implementation of Intrahospital Transfer Protocol for Emergency Department Patients to Decrease Unexpected Events
Introduction: Most of the patients hospitalized in the emergency department (ED) are in need of transfer to other hospital wards or paraclinic units. This process is called intrahospital transfer (IHT) that may lead to a wide range of complications known as unexpected events (UE). Objective: In the present study we decided to evaluate the effect of using a pre-designed protocol on decrease of UEs and safety improvement of IHT among patients hospitalized in ED. Method: The present cross-sectional study was carried out in 2016 in the ED of Imam Khomeini Hospital, Tehran, Iran. All patients with triage levels of 1 and 2 who were in need of temporary or permanent transfer to other departments of the studied treatment center based on clinical indication as decided by the in-charge physician were enrolled in the study. This study was conducted in 3 phases of pre-intervention, intervention and post-intervention. Any UE was recorded in first phase. During intervention phase ED-IHT protocol was prepared and implemented. the checklist of complications and UEs during transfer was filled again and pre- and post-intervention results were compared. Results: In this study, 207 patients with the mean age of 58.9 ± 20.6 years were evaluated (61.4% male). Demographic data and baseline characteristics of the studied patients in the phases before and after implementation of the protocol has no significant difference. Overall, before implementation of the protocol out of the 105 studied patients, a total of 35 patients (33.3%) were affected by UE during transfer, but after implementation of the protocol this rate decreased to 11 patients (10.8%) out of the 103 studied patients and this decrease was statistically significant (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Based on the results obtained from this study, it seems that performing the IHT protocol specialized for ED patients has been effective in decreasing UE cases.
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