Implementation of a Computerized Decision Support System for Computed Tomography Scan Requests for Nontraumatic Headache in the Emergency Department.
780 - 790
J Emerg Med
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BACKGROUND: Nontraumatic headache is a frequent complaint in the emergency department (ED). Cranial computed tomography (CT) is a widely available test for the diagnostic work-up, despite the risk of exposure to ionizing radiation. OBJECTIVES: We sought to develop and evaluate a cranial CT request computerized decision support system (CDSS) for adults with their first presentation of unusual severe nontraumatic headache in the ED. METHODS: Electronic database searches identified clinical decision and prediction rules and studies delineating risk factors in nontraumatic headache. A long list of risk factors extracted from these articles was reduced by a 30-member multidisciplinary expert panel (radiologists, emergency physicians, methodologists), using a 90% agreement threshold. This shortlist was used to develop the algorithm for the cranial CT request CDSS, which was implemented in March 2016. Impact evaluation compared CT scan frequency and diagnostic yield of pathologic findings before (March-August 2015) and after (March-August 2016) implementation. RESULTS: From the 10 selected studies, 10 risk factors were shortlisted to activate a request for cranial CT. Before implementation, 377 cranial CTs were ordered (15.3% of 2469 CT scans) compared with 244 after (9.5% of 2561 CT scans; pre-post difference 5.74%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.92-7.56%; p < 0.001), corresponding to a 37.6% relative reduction in the test ordering rate (95% CI 25.7-49.5%; p < 0.001). Despite the reduction in cranial CT scans, we did not observe an increase in pathological findings after introducing the decision support system (70 cases before [18.5%] vs. 35 cases after [14.3%]; pre-post difference -4.0% [95% CI -10.0 to 1.6%]; p = 0.170). CONCLUSION: In nontraumatic headache among adults seen in the ED, CDSS decreased the cranial CT request rate but the diagnostic yield did not improve.
AuthorsRoyuela, A; Abad, C; Vicente, A; Muriel, A; Romera, R; Fernandez-Felix, BM; Corres, J; Fernandez Bustos, P; Ortega, A; Heras-Mosteiro, J
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