BACKGROUND: The need for rapid evaluation and treatment of acute stroke patients has been well documented. A computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system can improve communication and provide immediate access to information, which may be useful for an effective team approach program targeted to reduce in-hospital time delays.
METHODS: To reduce the time from a patient's arrival at the emergency department to thrombolysis, a team approach program using CPOE was developed, and its efficacy was investigated by comparing time intervals from arrival to evaluation and intravenous tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) treatment before and after the implementation of the program.
RESULTS: Among 379 consecutive patients who were screened as potential candidates for thrombolysis, 25 patients (6.6%) received tPA during a 1-year period after initiation of the program. Fourteen patients were treated with tPA in the previous year. After program implementation, time from arrival to computed tomography scan was reduced from 34 to 19 min (p = 0.01). Time to report of complete blood count was also shortened from 52 to 33 min (p < 0.01). Finally, time from arrival to tPA treatment was reduced by 23 min (from 79 to 56 min; p < 0.01). Onset-to-door time tended to be longer after the program implementation (from 41 to 60 min; p = 0.14).
CONCLUSIONS: Implementation of the CPOE-based team approach program significantly reduced time from emergency department arrival to evaluations and treatment.
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