Case study:Ohio ERs adopt shared care guidelines

A group of three Cincinnati-area hospitals have begun working together to standardize emergency department care. The effort is being driven by a committee within the University of Cincinnati's emergency medicine department, whose physicians serve University, Jewish and Christ Hospitals.

The program, which developed protocols for 20 conditions, will give doctors scorecards that rate how well they've followed the guidelines, how often their patients develop complications and how their scores compare to their peers. Conditions addressed include asthma, pneumonia, ischemic stroke, diabetes and gallbladder disease; the measures also touch on procedures like spinal taps and central line placements. An initial analysis of asthma treatment patterns found that while readmissions didn't change, length of stay and time to first treatment decreased with the use of guidelines.

Participating physicians in the group have written up the results of their first three years of effort, which will appear on July 26 in the online version of the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

To learn more about the program:
- read this Cincinnati Business Courier item