How effective was The BC Emergency Medicine Network in treating patients with chest pain?

Patients being examined in a busy hospital room

Data access has been approved for a study to assess the effectiveness of disseminating chest pain clinical guidelines to emergency departments in British Columbia (BC), in an effort to improve diagnoses for chest pain/heart attack patients.

The study builds on previous work by project lead, Dr. Frank Scheuermeyer, Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of British Columbia, and Director of Research at St Paul’s Hospital Emergency Department.

Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) through the BC SUPPORT Unit, this study was chosen in collaboration with the BC SUPPORT Unit and Academic Health Science Network to demonstrate the effectiveness of the BC Emergency Medicine Network on changing patient and system outcomes.

“UBC clinician scientists have demonstrated that up to 5% of chest pain patients who are having a heart attack are inappropriately discharged with an incorrect minimizing diagnosis,” says Dr. Scheuermeyer. “In response, we created an algorithm for safe observation, and developed and validated a prediction rule for the safe early discharge of chest pain patients who are at very low risk of having a heart attack. The latter rule permits discharge without the need for traditional extensive outpatient investigations.”

Following the implementation of the dissemination program and resulting chances in practice, the team believe that congestion in emergency departments and inappropriate discharge of truly ill patients will be reduced, the need to transfer patients from smaller communities will also decrease, and patient inconvenience and anxiety will be mitigated.

“Although the ultimate strategy applied will be different in different settings, patients and physicians will benefit and remain up-to-date through better dissemination of setting-specific information,” Dr. Scheuermeyer concludes.

For the project PopData will link 5 data sets from the BC Ministry of Health with data from Northern Health Authority.

The BC SUPPORT Unit is one of 11 SUPPORT Units established across the country as part of Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) led by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The Academic Health Science Network is also a sponsor of the BC Emergency Medicine Network.