INTRODUCTION: Prehospital acquisition of electrocardiograms (ECG) has been consistently associated with reduced door-to-balloon times in the treatment of ST-segment myocardial infarction (STEMI). There is little evidence establishing best hospital practices once the ECG has been received by the emergency department (ED). This study evaluates the use of a push notification system to reduce delays in cardiac catheterization lab (CCL) activation for prehospital STEMI.
METHODS: In this prospective before-and-after study, we collected prehospital ECGs with computer interpretation of STEMI from May 2012 to October 2013. Push notifications were implemented June 1, 2013. During the study period, we collected timestamps of when the prehospital ECG was received (email timestamp of receiving account), CCL team activation (timestamp in paging system), and patient arrival (timestamp in ED tracking board). When prehospital ECGs were received in the ED, an audible alert was played via the Vocera WiFi communication system, notifying nursing staff that an ECG was available for physician interpretation. We compared the time from receiving the ECG to activation of the CCL before and after the audible notification was implemented.
RESULTS: Of the 56 cases received, we included 45 in our analysis (20 cases with pre-arrival CCL activation and 25 with post-arrival activation). For the pre-arrival group, the interval from ECG received to CCL activation prior to implementation was 9.1 minutes with a standard deviation (SD) of 5.7 minutes. After implementation, the interval was reduced to 3.33 minutes with a SD of 1.63 minutes. Delay was decreased by 5.8 minutes (p < 0.01). Post-implementation activation times were more consistent, demonstrated by a decrease in SD from 5.75 to 1.63 min (p < 0.01). For patients with CCL activation after arrival, there was no significant change in mean delay after implementation.
CONCLUSIONS: In this small, single-center observational study, we demonstrated that the use of push notifications to ED staff alerting that a prehospital STEMI ECG was received correlated with a small reduction in, and increased consistency of, ED CCL activation. [West J Emerg Med. 2019;20(2)212-218.]