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Pediatrics. 2003 Aug;112(2):363-7.

Impact of the rapid diagnosis of influenza on physician decision-making and patient management in the pediatric emergency department: results of a randomized, prospective, controlled trial.

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1
Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA. abonner@swmail.sw.org

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the impact of the rapid diagnosis of influenza on physician decision-making and patient management, including laboratory tests and radiographs ordered, patient charges associated with these tests, antibiotics/antivirals prescribed, and length of time to patient discharge from the emergency department.

METHODS:

Patients aged 2 months to 21 years presenting to an urban children's teaching hospital emergency department were screened for fever and cough, coryza, myalgias, headache, and/or malaise. After obtaining informed consent, patients were randomized to 1 of 2 groups: 1) physician receives (physician aware of) the rapid influenza test result; or 2) physician does not receive (physician unaware of) the result. For patients in the physician aware group, nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained, immediately tested with the FluOIA test for influenza A and B, and the result was placed on the chart before patient evaluation by the attending physician. For the physician unaware group, nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained, stored according to manufacturer's directions, and tested within 24 hours. Results for the physician unaware group were not disclosed to the treating physicians at any time. The 2 resultant influenza-positive groups (aware and unaware) were compared for laboratory and radiograph studies and their associated patient charges, antibiotic/antiviral prescriptions, and length of stay in the emergency department.

RESULTS:

A total of 418 patients were enrolled, and 391 completed the study. Of these, 202 tested positive for influenza. Comparison of the 96 influenza-positive patients whose physician was aware of the result with the 106 influenza-positive patients whose physician was unaware of the result revealed significant reductions among the former group in: 1) numbers of complete blood counts, blood cultures, urinalyses, urine cultures, and chest radiographs performed; 2) charges associated with these tests; 3) antibiotics prescribed; and 4) length of stay in the emergency department. The number of influenza-positive patients who received prescriptions for antiviral drugs was significantly higher among those whose physician was aware of the result.

CONCLUSIONS:

Physician awareness of a rapid diagnosis of influenza in the pediatric emergency department significantly reduced the number of laboratory tests and radiographs ordered and their associated charges, decreased antibiotic use, increased antiviral use, and decreased length of time to discharge.

PMID:
12897288
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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