Tasman Medical Journal

ISSN:  2652-1881

Volume 2020 - Issue 4.

Targeted testing safely reduces diagnostic tests in the intensive care unit: An interventional study

Edward Litton, Katherine Hooper and Cyrus Edibam


Background For patients admitted to the Intensive care unit (ICU), diagnostic testing is often conducted routinely and at set intervals. However, compared to ordering tests in response to specific clinical questions, routine ordering may result in substantial unnecessary testing and be associated with adverse consequences including diversion of clinician time, iatrogenic anaemia and false positive results.

Aim To assess the effect of introducing a targeted testing intervention on the number of routine diagnostic tests performed in the ICU. Clinical outcomes included blood product use, length of stay and mortality.

Methods A single centre, before and after study conducted in the adult ICU of a tertiary hospital in Perth, Western Australia. The targeted testing intervention included a diagnostic testing guideline, clinician education, and feedback of tests conducted. All patients admitted in the 12 months before and following introduction of the intervention were compared using aggregated laboratory and other data obtained routinely and contained in clinical registries. The primary outcome was reduction in total tests conducted per ICU admission. Secondary outcomes included blood product ordered and intensive care unit and hospital length of stay and mortality.

Results All 2477 patients in the 12-month pre-intervention period and 2625 patients in the 12-month post-intervention period were included in the study. Clinical characteristics of the groups were similar. Routine diagnostic tests per ICU admission were 47.0 (SD 6.4) pre-intervention and 24.9 (6.5) post-intervention [mean reduction 22.1 (95% CI 16.6-27.6), P<0.0001], a difference of 49,452 fewer tests overall. Clinical outcomes including length of stay and mortality were unchanged.

Conclusion An ICU targeted testing intervention resulted in substantial decrease in routine diagnostic testing and ordered blood products without any detriment to clinical outcomes.


Face-Touching behaviour modification in ICU staff during the COVID-19 pandemic

Kirsten Rowcliff, Celia Bradford and Anthony Delaney


Introduction SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19) is an ongoing global pandemic. Amongst several precautions, hand hygiene and abstaining from self-face touching have both been highlighted to reduce transmission. The aim of this audit was to determine the rate of face touching in ICU medical teams in COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 ICU wards and to determine if the rate could be decreased by an educational intervention.
Methods A single observer audited medical teams during morning ward rounds and measured face touches and re-audited the rate after clinical teams were given instruction and education. Data was collated on Microsoft Excel and analysed using SPSS.
Results A statistically significant reduction in face touching behaviours in ICU doctors from a median of 12 to 4.5 (P=0.009) before and after the intervention was observed.
Conclusion Audit and education were a useful feedback mechanism for medical teams and resulted in short-term face touching behaviour change. Further study would be required to determine sustained behaviour change.


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