Introduction: Historically, community hospitals have had few options for meaningful treatment of patients presenting with acute stroke. As expertise grows in the administration of thrombolytics, primary stroke centers (PSC) fulfill an important role in the reduction of morbidity and mortality related to stroke. It is important for the PSC to partner with Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to change historical perceptions of the quality of PSC care. Education may improve teamwork and increase awareness of the PSC, thereby increasing their utilization in EMS disposition decisions.
Objective: The objective of this study is to report the impact of an education intervention on PSC bypass decisions.
Methods: The electronic patient care record database from a North Carolina county EMS system was queried as a quality improvement analysis from January 1, 2012 to February 28, 2016. This included 19 months prior to the education intervention, the year during the education intervention, and 19 months after the education intervention. All primary patient transports with Stroke/CVA, or suspected TIA as the primary or secondary impression were included. Interfacility transports were excluded. The recorded call location was determined to either be inside or outside the PSC service area. The hospital the patient was transported to was also recorded.
Results: During the pre-intervention phase 222 patients were identified, 48 of which originated in the PSC service area. Of those 48 patients, 16 bypassed the PSC (33.3%). In the post-intervention phase, 94 of 269 total patients were in PSC service area. Only 12 bypasses occurred (12.8%) which is a reduction of 61.7% in PSC bypass compared to the pre-intervention phase.
Conclusion: The period following a combined hospital/EMS educational intervention showed significant reduction in PSC bypass.