Impact of a clinical decision support tool on adherence to the Ottawa Ankle Rules☆, ☆☆

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Abstract

Objective:

The objective of the study is to determine impact of a clinical decision support (CDS) tool on documented adherence to the Ottawa Ankle Rules (OAR) and utilization and yield of ankle/foot radiography, for emergency department patients with acute ankle injury.

Methods:

This is a before-and-after intervention study conducted at a 793-bed, quaternary care, academic hospital from August 2012 to October 2013. Emergency department visits from adults with acute ankle injury 6 months before and 8 months after the intervention were included. The intervention embedded the OAR into a CDS tool integrated with a computerized physician order entry system, which had data capture capability and provided feedback at the time of ankle/foot radiography order. Primary outcome was rate of documented adherence to OAR. Secondary outcomes were utilization and yield (clinically significant fracture rates among patients with acute ankle injuries) of ankle/foot radiography.

Results:

The study population included 460 visits; 205 (44.6%) occurred preintervention. After intervention, documented OAR adherence increased from 55.9% (229/410) to 95.7% (488/510; P < .001). Utilization remained stable for ankle (77.5%; P = .800) and foot (48.6%; P = .514) radiography. Yield remained stable for ankle (17.8%; P = .891) and foot (19.8%; P = .889) radiography.

Discussion:

Lack of documentation of key clinical data may hamper provider communication, delay care coordination, and result in legal liability. By embedding the OAR into a CDS tool, we achieved the same rate of documented adherence as previous onerous educational implementations while automating data collection/retrieval. In summary, implementation of the OAR into a CDS tool was associated with an increase in documented adherence to the OAR.

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