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CJEM. 2000 Oct;2(4):252-7.

Pilot intervention to improve the documentation of pediatric injuries in the emergency department, Critical care medicine as a subspecialty of emergency medicine.

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Department of Rural Health, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.



Our goal was to determine the effectiveness of an intervention aimed at improving the emergency department (ED) documentation of pediatric injuries.


All physicians and nursing staff in the ED of an urban teaching hospital and trauma centre underwent focused injury surveillance training and were instructed how to document 14 injury-specific data elements. Pocket reminder cards were provided, and pediatric injury charts were flagged. Subsequently, random samples of pediatric injury charts were analyzed from a 3-month period prior to the intervention and from the corresponding months after the intervention. Post-intervention documentation was compared to pre-intervention documentation for the 14 pre-defined data elements.


Six of the 14 data elements were charted more frequently, and 2 less frequently during the post-intervention phase. Odds ratios ranged from 4.59 (95%CI, 3.40 to 6.19) for charting "the presence of an adult observer" to 0.09 (95%CI, 0.01 to 0.76) for charting "sports equipment related to the injury." The "flagging" of injury charts, as a visual reminder for clinicians to document injury data, seemed to be the most effective component of the intervention.


A simple intervention, consisting of staff training, chart modification, and visual flagging of charts, can increase the amount of injury information documented by ED clinicians. Efforts to improve ED charting are most likely to succeed if they include visual prompts for clinicians.

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