Now showing 1 - 10 of 14
  • Publication
    Review article: Have emergency department time-based targets influenced patient care? A systematic review of qualitative literature.
    (2021-02-23)
    Walker K
    ;
    ;
    Haustead D
    ;
    Mountain D
    ;
    Gangathimmaiah V
    ;
    Forero R
    ;
    Mitchell R
    ;
    Martini E
    ;
    Tesch G
    ;
    Bissett I
    ;
    Jones P
    Time-based targets for ED length of stay were introduced in England in 2000, followed by the rest of the UK, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia after ED crowding was associated with poor quality of care and increased mortality. This systematic review evaluates qualitative literature to see if ED time-based targets have influenced patient care quality. We included 13 studies from four countries, incorporating 617 interviews. We conclude that time-based targets have impacted on the quality of emergency patient care, both positively and negatively. Successful implementation depends on whole hospital resourcing and engagement with targets.
  • Publication
    Evaluation of a new medical retrieval and primary health care advice model in Central Australia: Results of pre- and post-implementation surveys.
    (2022-12-09)
    Green D
    ;
    Russell DJ
    ;
    ;
    Mathew S
    ;
    Fitts MS
    ;
    Johnson R
    ;
    Reeve DM
    ;
    ;
    Niclasen P
    ;
    Liddle Z
    ;
    Maguire G
    ;
    Remond M
    ;
    Wakerman J
    INTRODUCTION: In February 2018 the Remote Medical Practitioner (RMP)-led telehealth model for providing both primary care advice and aeromedical retrievals in Central Australia was replaced by the Medical Retrieval and Consultation Centre (MRaCC) and Remote Outreach Consultation Centre (ROCC). In this new model, specialists with advanced critical care skills provide telehealth consultations for emergencies 24/7 and afterhours primary care advice (MRaCC) while RMPs (general practitioners) provide primary care telehealth advice in business hours via the separate ROCC. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate changes in clinicians' perceptions of efficiency and timeliness of the new (MRaCC) and (ROCC) model in Central Australia. DESIGN: There were 103 and 72 respondents, respectively, to pre- and post-implementation surveys of remote clinicians and specialist staff. FINDINGS: Both emergency and primary care aspects of telehealth support were perceived as being significantly more timely and efficient under the newly introduced MRaCC/ROCC model. Importantly, health professionals in remote community were more likely to feel that their access to clinical support during emergencies was consistent and immediately available. DISCUSSION: Respondents consistently perceived the new MRaCC/ROCC model more favourably than the previous RMP-led model, suggesting that there are benefits to having separate referral streams for telehealth advice for primary health care and emergencies, and staffing the emergency stream with specialists with advanced critical care skills. CONCLUSION: Given the paucity of literature about optimal models for providing pre-hospital medical care to remote residents, the findings have substantial local, national and international relevance and implications, particularly in similar geographically large countries, with low population density.
  • Publication
    The Effect of Heat Events on Prehospital and Retrieval Service Utilization in Rural and Remote Areas: A Scoping Review.
    (2021-11-02)
    O'Donnell E
    ;
    ; ;
    Schultz R
    INTRODUCTION: It is well-established that heatwaves increase demand for emergency transport in metropolitan areas; however, little is known about the impact of heat events on demand for prehospital retrieval services in rural and remote areas, or how heatwaves are defined in this context. INCLUSION CRITERIA: Papers were eligible for inclusion if they reported on the impact of a heat event on the activity of a prehospital and retrieval service in a rural or remote area. METHODS: A search of PubMed, Cochrane, Science Direct, CINAHL, and Google Scholar databases was undertaken on August 18, 2020 using search terms related to emergency medical transport, extreme heat, and rural or remote. Data relevant to the impact of heat on retrieval service activity were extracted, as well as definitions of extreme heat. RESULTS: Two papers were identified, both from Australia. Both found that heat events increased the number of road ambulance call-outs. Both studies used the Excess Heat Factor (EHF) to define heatwave periods of interest. CONCLUSIONS: This review found almost no primary literature on demand for prehospital retrieval services in rural and remote areas, and no data specifically related to aeromedical transport. The research did recognize the disproportionate impact of heat-related increase in service demand on Australian rural and regional health services. With the effects of climate change already being felt, there is an urgent need for more research and action in this area.
  • Publication
    Medical retrieval of pregnant women in labour: A scoping review.
    (2022-11-02)
    McInnes J
    ;
    ;
    Johnson R
    ;
    Durup C
    ;
    Venkatesh A
    ;
    William Gardiner F
    ;
    Schultz R
    ;
    Spring B
    BACKGROUND: Remote Australian women in labour often rely on retrieval services to allow birthing in specialist obstetric centres. However, there is currently debate over when not to transfer a woman in labour, for risk of an in-transit birth, associated with worse neonatal outcomes. METHODS: A scoping review methodology was undertaken, to define the scope of published literature on the topic and identify gaps in the current knowledge. RESULTS: A total of seven full texts were deemed suitable for synthesis, which were all retrospective observational studies. Four themes from the studies' findings were identified: population features, predicting time-to-birth, use of tocolysis and birth during medical evacuation. CONCLUSION: The evidence identified in this review was of low methodological quality and heterogenous. The key findings were that births in-flight are rare, despite geographical distances and long transport times, with a knowledge gap on predictors of time-to-birth.
  • Publication
    Review article: Has the implementation of time-based targets for emergency department length of stay influenced the quality of care for patients? A systematic review of quantitative literature.
    (2021-03-16)
    Jones P
    ;
    Haustead D
    ;
    Walker K
    ;
    ;
    Gangathimmaiah V
    ;
    Mitchell R
    ;
    Bissett I
    ;
    Forero R
    ;
    Martini E
    ;
    Mountain D
    Time-based targets (TBTs) for ED stays were introduced to improve quality of care but criticised as having harmful unintended consequences. The aim of the review was to determine whether implementation of TBTs influenced quality of care. Structured searches in medical databases were undertaken (2000-2019). Studies describing a state, regional or national TBTs that reported processes or outcomes of care related to the target were included. Harvest plots were used to summarise the evidence. Thirty-three studies (n = 34 million) were included. In some settings, reductions in mortality were seen in ED, in hospital and at 30 days, while in other settings mortality was unchanged. Mortality reductions were seen in the face of increasing age and acuity of presentations, when short-stay admissions were excluded, and when pre-target temporal trends were accounted for. ED crowding, time to assessment and admission times reduced. Fewer patients left prior to completing their care and fewer patients re-presented to EDs. Short-stay admissions and re-admissions to wards within 30 days increased. There was conflicting evidence regarding hospital occupancy and ward medical emergency calls, while times to treatment for individual conditions did not change. The evidence for associations was mostly low certainty and confidence in the findings is accordingly low. Quality of care generally improved after targets were introduced and when compliance with targets was high. This depended on how targets were implemented at individual sites or within jurisdictions, with important implications for policy makers, health managers and clinicians.
  • Publication
    A method for rapid machine learning development for data mining with doctor-in-the-loop.
    (2023-05)
    Bull N
    ;
    ;
    Spratt N
    ;
    Classifying free-text from historical databases into research-compatible formats is a barrier for clinicians undertaking audit and research projects. The aim of this study was to (a) develop interactive active machine-learning model training methodology using readily available software that was (b) easily adaptable to a wide range of natural language databases and allowed customised researcher-defined categories, and then (c) evaluate the accuracy and speed of this model for classifying free text from two unique and unrelated clinical notes into coded data. A user interface for medical experts to train and evaluate the algorithm was created. Data requiring coding in the form of two independent databases of free-text clinical notes, each of unique natural language structure. Medical experts defined categories relevant to research projects and performed 'label-train-evaluate' loops on the training data set. A separate dataset was used for validation, with the medical experts blinded to the label given by the algorithm. The first dataset was 32,034 death certificate records from Northern Territory Births Deaths and Marriages, which were coded into 3 categories: haemorrhagic stroke, ischaemic stroke or no stroke. The second dataset was 12,039 recorded episodes of aeromedical retrieval from two prehospital and retrieval services in Northern Territory, Australia, which were coded into 5 categories: medical, surgical, trauma, obstetric or psychiatric. For the first dataset, macro-accuracy of the algorithm was 94.7%. For the second dataset, macro-accuracy was 92.4%. The time taken to develop and train the algorithm was 124 minutes for the death certificate coding, and 144 minutes for the aeromedical retrieval coding. This machine-learning training method was able to classify free-text clinical notes quickly and accurately from two different health datasets into categories of relevance to clinicians undertaking health service research.
  • Publication
  • Publication
    Optimising medical retrieval processes and outcomes in remote areas in high-income countries: A scoping review.
    (2022-07-19)
    Mathew S
    ;
    Russell DJ
    ;
    Fitts MS
    ;
    Wakerman J
    ;
    ;
    Johnson R
    ;
    ;
    Reeve d
    ;
    Niclasen p
    OBJECTIVE: This scoping review explores the structure and process-level strategies that are associated with medical retrieval outcomes. A secondary aim is to identify the range of medical retrieval outcomes used to assess the performance of remote retrieval services. DESIGN: A scoping review of peer-reviewed literature from PubMed, CINAHL and the Web of Science was undertaken following guidelines set by the Johanna Briggs Institute manual for scoping reviews. All articles were assessed by two reviewers. Themes were derived inductively from the data extracted. SETTING: Medical retrievals in sparsely populated remote locations in high-income countries. PARTICIPANTS: Staff and clients of remote medical retrieval services. INTERVENTIONS: Structures and processes (e.g. resource availability, retrieval staff structures and governance protocols) that aimed to improve medical retrieval outcomes. OUTCOMES: Patient health outcomes and service efficiency. RESULTS: Twenty-four articles were included. Three broad themes, related to the nature of the interventions, were included: optimising prehospital management of retrievals, staffing and resourcing of retrieval services and retrieval model evaluation. Mortality was the most frequently used outcome indicator in these studies, but was not measured consistently across studies. CONCLUSIONS: This review highlights significant gaps in the literature that describes the structure and processes of retrieval models operating in remote areas and a dearth of literature evaluating specific operational strategies implemented within medical retrieval models. The available literature does not meaningfully assist with identifying key outcome indicators for developing a consistent monitoring and evaluation framework for retrieval services in geographically, culturally and demographically diverse remote contexts.