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Urgent assessment in emergency departments can reduce surgical decision time and overcrowding
Date:8/8/2011

CHICAGO (August 8, 2011) The use of Acute Care Emergency Surgical Service (ACCESS) in emergency departments (EDs) can lead to significant reductions in key patient measures, such as length of stay, surgical decision-making time and "time-to-stretcher" (one measure of overall ED overcrowding), according to a study published in the August issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. Emergency departments are a crucial point of access to the health care system for patients with a broad spectrum of injuries and illnesses, and overcrowding has been identified as a widespread and serious problem with adverse consequences, both in the United States and Canada.

"This study is the first to show that the establishment of an acute care surgery service can improve overall ED overcrowding by decreasing surgical decision time for all general surgery patients," said Homer Tien, MD, MSc, FACS, FRCSC and associate scientist at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, and a senior author of the study. "In the past five years, there has been a groundswell of support in both Canada and in the U.S. for establishment of these services for various reasons, such as the growing difficulty of treating acute surgical conditions and a decrease in operative trauma surgical cases."

The researchers found that implementation of ACCESS was associated with a 15 percent reduction in surgical decision time (12.6 hours vs. 10.8 hours, p < 0.01) and a 20 percent decrease in the average "time-to-stretcher" for all ED patients. The researchers also focused on an isolated group of appendicitis cases and found ACCESS service reduced surgical decision time by 30 percent for these patients. The study was performed between January 1, 2007, and June 30, 2009, at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, a large academic hospital located in Toronto that receives approximately 42,000 ED visits annually. ACCESS was implemented in the ED on July 1, 2008 and
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Contact: Sally Garneski
pressinquiry@facs.org
312-202-5409
Weber Shandwick Worldwide
Source:Eurekalert

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