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J Emerg Med. 2012 Sep;43(3):502-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2011.08.016. Epub 2012 Jan 13.

Impact of physician-assisted triage on timing of antibiotic delivery in patients admitted to the hospital with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP).

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  • 1Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency, Brigham & Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



Time to antibiotic delivery in patients with diagnosis of pneumonia is a publicly reported quality measure.


We aim to describe the impact of emergency department (ED) physician-assisted triage (PAT) on The Joint Commission (TJC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) pneumonia core quality measures of timing to antibiotic delivery.


Retrospective case series studies of patients admitted to the hospital through the ED with diagnosis of community-acquired pneumonia were identified over a period of 48 months. Patients were included in the study if they met TJC/CMS PN-5 (antibiotic timing) criteria. We compared antibiotic delivery timing before and after implementation of PAT in moderate-acuity patients using Wilcoxon rank sum tests. A linear regression analysis was done to account for age, sex, ED volume, and acuity level.


A total of 659 patients were identified: 497 patients and 162 patients enrolled pre- and post-implementation of a PAT, respectively. The median antibiotic delivery times for moderate-acuity patients during open hours of operation of PAT were 180min (pre) and 195min (post), p=0.027; this was unchanged when ED volume, age, sex, and acuity level were accounted for. A total of 43 patients (9%) and 13 patients (8%) failed to receive antibiotics within 6h of ED presentation before and after implementation of PAT, respectively.


In this study, implementation of PAT did not result in overall decrease in antibiotic delivery time in patients admitted to the hospital with CAP. We postulate several explanations for this delay in antibiotic delivery time.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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