Preventable mortality in patients at low risk of death requiring prehospital ambulance care: retrospective case record review study
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Journal titleBMJ Open
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AbstractAim Retrospective case record reviews (RCRR) have been widely used to assess quality of care but evidence for their use in prehospital ambulance settings is limited. We aimed to review case records of potentially avoidable deaths related to ambulance care. Method We identified patients who were transported to hospital or died using linked ambulance-hospital-mortality data from one UK ambulance service over 6 months in 2013. Death rates (within 3 days) for patient groups (based on age, dispatch code and urgency) were determined; 3 patients calling in-hours and 3 outof-hours were selected from categories with the lowest death rates. Five reviewers (GP, nurse, 2 paramedics and medical health service manager) assessed anonymised patient records for quality of care and avoidable mortality. Results We selected 29 linked records from 1 50 003 focussing on patients not transported to distinguish pre-hospital from Abstracts BMJ Open 2018;8(Suppl 1):A1–A34 A7 Trust (NHS). Protected by copyright. on 13 August 2019 at Manchester University NHS Foundation http://bmjopen.bmj.com/ BMJ Open: first published as 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-EMS.20 on 16 April 2018. Downloaded from hospital causes. Overall 8 cases out of 29 (27.6%) scored between 2.4 and 2.8 (1=Definitely avoidable, 2=Strong evidence of avoidability), 8 cases (27.6%) scored between 3.0 and 4.6 (3=Probably avoidable, 4=Possibly avoidable), and the remaining 13 cases (44.8%) between 4.0 and 5.8 (5=Slightly avoidable or 6=Definitely not avoidable). Variation between raters was satisfactory with ICC 0.84 (95% CI: 0.73 to 0.92). Common themes among cases with strong evidence of avoidability were symptoms or physical findings indicating a potentially serious condition and refusal by patients or their carers to be transported to hospital. RCRRs require linked ambulance, hospital and mortality data to ensure accurate assessment in light of the diagnosis and cause of death. Conclusion Retrospective case record reviews (RCRR) have been widely used to assess quality of care but evidence for their use in prehospital ambulance settings is limited. We aimed to review case records of potentially avoidable deaths related to ambulance care. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/Suppl_1/A7.3 This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-EMS.20