Screening for congenital heart malformation in child health centres.
BACKGROUND: Although screening for congenital heart malformations is part of the child health care programme in several countries, there are very few published evaluations of these activities. This report is concerned with the evaluation of this screening at the Dutch Child Health Centres (CHC). METHODS: All consecutive patients, aged between 32 days and 4 years, presented at the Sophia Children's Hospital Rotterdam throughout a period of 2 years, with a congenital heart malformation were included in this study. Paediatric cardiologists established whether or not these patients were diagnosed after haemodynamic complications had already developed (diagnosed 'too late'). Parents and CHC-physicians were interviewed in order to establish the screening and detection history. Test properties were established for all patients with a congenital heart malformation (n = 290), intended effects of screening were established in patients with clinically significant malformations (n = 82). RESULTS: The sensitivity of the actual screening programme was 0.57 (95% CI : 0.51-0.62), the specificity 0.985 (95% CI : 0.981-0.990) and the predictive value of a positive test result 0.13 (95% CI: 0.10-0.19). Sensitivity in a subpopulation of patients adequately screened was 0.89 (95% CI: 0.74-0.96). Adequately screened patients were less likely to be diagnosed 'too late' than inadequately screened patients (odds ratio [OR] = 0.20, 95% CI: 0.04-1.05). The actual risk of being diagnosed 'too late' in the study-population (48%) was only slightly less than the estimated risk for patients not exposed to CHC-screening (58%, 95% CI: 43%-72%). Adequately screened patients however were at considerably less risk (17%, 95% CI: 4%-48%). CONCLUSION: Screening for congenital heart malformations in CHC contributes to the timely detection of these disorders. The actual yield, however, is far from optimal, and the screening programme should be improved. (+info)
Use of an east end children's accident and emergency department for infants: a failure of primary health care?
OBJECTIVE: To ascertain why parents use an accident and emergency department for health care for their infants. DESIGN: Prospective one month study. SETTING: One accident and emergency department of a children's hospital in the east end of London. SUBJECTS: Parents of 159 infants aged < 9 months attending as self referrals (excluding infants attending previously or inpatients within one month, parents advised by the hospital to attend if concerned about their child's health, infants born abroad and arrived in Britain within the previous month). MAIN MEASURES: Details of birth, postnatal hospital stay, contact with health professionals, perceptions of roles of community midwife and health visitor, and current attendance obtained from a semistructured questionnaire administered in the department by a research health visitor; diagnosis, discharge, and follow up. RESULTS: 152(96%) parents were interviewed, 43(28%) of whom were single parent and 68(45%) first time mothers. Presenting symptoms included diarrhoea or vomiting, or both (34, 22%), crying (21, 14%), and feeding difficulties (10, 7%). Respiratory or gastrointestinal infection was diagnosed in 70(46%) infants. Only 17(11%) infants were admitted; hospital follow up was arranged for 27(20%) infants not admitted. Most (141, 94%) parents were registered with a general practitioner; 146(27%) had contact with the community midwife and 135(89%) the health visitor. CONCLUSION: Most attendances were for problems more appropriately dealt with by primary care professionals owing to patients' perceptions of hospital and primary health care services. IMPLICATIONS: Closer cooperation within the health service is needed to provide a service responsive to the real needs of patients. (+info)
Implications of managed care denials for pediatric inpatient care.
With the growing penetration of managed care into the healthcare market, providers continue to experience increasing cost constraints. In this environment, it is important to track reimbursement denials and understand the managed care organization's rationale for refusal of payment. This is especially critical for providers of pediatric care, as children justifiably have unique healthcare needs and utilization patterns. We developed a system for tracking and documenting denials in our institution and found that health maintenance organizations denied claims primarily for one of three reasons: medically unnecessary care, care provided as a response to social (rather than medical) need, and provider inefficiencies. Health maintenance organization denials are also growing annually at our institutions. This knowledge can not only help providers of pediatric care more effectively negotiate future contracts, but provides an opportunity to differentiate the health needs of the pediatric patient from those of the adult. This information can be used as a basis for education, pediatric outcome studies, and guideline development--all tools that can help providers receive reasonable reimbursement for pediatric services and enable them to meet the complex health needs of children. Recommendations for action are discussed. (+info)
Conditional Length of Stay.
OBJECTIVE: To develop and test a new outcome measure, Conditional Length of Stay (CLOS), to assess hospital performance when deaths are rare and complication data are not available. DATA SOURCES: The 1991 and 1992 MedisGroups National Comparative Data Base. STUDY DESIGN: We use engineering reliability theory traditionally applied to estimate mechanical failure rates to construct a CLOS measure. Specifically, we use the Hollander-Proschan statistic to test if LOS distributions display an "extended" pattern of decreasing hazards after a transition point, suggesting that "the longer a patient has stayed in the hospital, the longer a patient will likely stay in the hospital" versus an alternative possibility that "the longer a patient has stayed in the hospital, the faster a patient will likely be discharged from the hospital." DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS: Abstracted records from 7,777 pediatric pneumonia cases and 3,413 pediatric appendectomy cases were available for analysis. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: For both conditions, the Hollander-Proschan statistic strongly displays an "extended" pattern of LOS by day 3 (p<.0001) associated with declining rates of discharge. This extended pattern coincides with increasing patient complication rates. Worse admission severity and chronic disease contribute to lower rates of discharge after day 3. CONCLUSIONS: Patient stays tend to become prolonged after complications. By studying CLOS, one can determine when the rate of hospital discharge begins to diminish--without the need to directly observe complications. Policymakers looking for an objective outcome measure may find that CLOS aids in the analysis of a hospital's management of complicated patients without requiring complication data, thereby facilitating analyses concerning the management of patients whose care has become complicated. (+info)
Detection of an archaic clone of Staphylococcus aureus with low-level resistance to methicillin in a pediatric hospital in Portugal and in international samples: relics of a formerly widely disseminated strain?
Close to half of the 878 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains recovered between 1992 and 1997 from the pediatric hospital in Lisbon were bacteria in which antibiotic resistance was limited to beta-lactam antibiotics. The other half were multidrug resistant. The coexistence of MRSA with such unequal antibiotic resistance profiles prompted us to use molecular typing techniques for the characterization of the MRSA strains. Fifty-three strains chosen randomly were typed by a combination of genotypic methods. Over 90% of the MRSA strains belonged to two clones: the most frequent one, designated the "pediatric clone," was reminiscent of historically "early" MRSA: most isolates of this clone were only resistant to beta-lactam antimicrobials and remained susceptible to macrolides, quinolones, clindamycin, spectinomycin, and tetracycline. They showed heterogeneous and low-level resistance to methicillin (MIC, 1.5 to 6 microg/ml), carried the ClaI-mecA polymorph II, were free of the transposon Tn554, and showed macrorestriction pattern D (clonal type II::NH::D). The second major clone was the internationally spread and multiresistant "Iberian" MRSA with homogeneous and high-level resistance to methicillin (MIC, >200 microg/ml) and clonal type I::E::A. Surprisingly, the multidrug-resistant and highly epidemic Iberian MRSA did not replace the much less resistant pediatric clone during the 6 years of surveillance. The pediatric clone was also identified among contemporary MRSA isolates from Poland, Argentina, The United States, and Colombia, and the overwhelming majority of these were also associated with pediatric settings. We propose that the pediatric MRSA strain represents a formerly widely spread archaic clone which survived in some epidemiological settings with relatively limited antimicrobial pressure. (+info)
Injury surveillance in an accident and emergency department: a year in the life of CHIRPP.
BACKGROUND: The design of childhood injury prevention programmes is hindered by a dearth of valid and reliable information on injury frequency, cause, and outcome. A number of local injury surveillance systems have been developed to address this issue. One example is CHIRPP (Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program), which has been imported into the accident and emergency department at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow. This paper examines a year of CHIRPP data. METHODS: A CHIRPP questionnaire was completed for 7940 children presenting in 1996 to the accident and emergency department with an injury or poisoning. The first part of the questionnaire was completed by the parent or accompanying adult, the second part by the clinician. These data were computerised and analysed using SPSSPC for Windows. RESULTS: Injuries commonly occurred in the child's own home, particularly in children aged 0-4 years. These children commonly presented with bruising, ingestions, and foreign bodies. With increasing age, higher proportions of children presented with injuries occurring outside the home. These were most commonly fractures, sprains, strains, and inflammation/oedema. Seasonal variations were evident, with presentations peaking in the summer. CONCLUSIONS: There are several limitations to the current CHIRPP system in Glasgow: it is not population based, only injuries presented to the accident and emergency department are included, and injury severity is not recorded. Nevertheless, CHIRPP is a valuable source of information on patterns of childhood injury. It offers local professionals a comprehensive dataset that may be used to develop, implement, and evaluate child injury prevention activities. (+info)
Care and feeding of a staff for filmless radiology.
Texas Children's Hospital, a definitive care pediatric hospital located in the Texas Medical Center, has been constructing a large-scale picture archival and communications system (PACS) including ultrasound (US), computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MR), and computed radiography (CR). Developing staffing adequate to meet the demands of filmless radiology operations has been a continuous challenge. Overall guidance for the PACS effort is provided by a hospital-level PACS Committee, a department-level PACS Steering Committee, and an Operations Committee. Operational Subcommittees have been formed to address service-specific implementation, such as the Emergency Center Operations Subcommittee. These committees include membership by those affected by the change, as well as those effecting the change. Initially, personnel resources for PACS were provided through additional duties of existing imaging service personnel. As the PACS effort became more complex, full-time positions were created, including a PACS Coordinator, a PACS Analyst, and a Digital Imaging Assistant. Each position requires a job description, qualifications, and personnel development plans that are difficult to anticipate in an evolving PACS implementation. These positions have been augmented by temporary full-time assignments, position reclassifications, and cross-training of other imaging personnel. Imaging personnel are assisted by other hospital personnel from Biomedical Engineering and Information Services. Ultimately, the PACS staff grows to include all those who must operate the PACS equipment in the normal course of their duties. The effectiveness of the PACS staff is limited by their level of their expertise. This report discusses our methods to obtain training from outside our institution and to develop, conduct, and document standardized in-house training. We describe some of the products of this work, including policies and procedures, clinical competency criteria, PACS inservice topics, and an informal PACS newsletter. As the PACS system software and hardware changes, and as our implementation grows, these products must to be revised and training must be repeated. (+info)
Maintaining continuity of clinical operations while implementing large-scale filmless operations.
Texas Children's Hospital is a pediatric tertiary care facility in the Texas Medical Center with a large-scale, Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM)-compliant picture archival and communications system (PACS) installation. As our PACS has grown from an ultrasound niche PACS into a full-scale, multimodality operation, assuring continuity of clinical operations has become the number one task of the PACS staff. As new equipment is acquired and incorporated into the PACS, workflow processes, responsibilities, and job descriptions must be revised to accommodate filmless operations. Round-the-clock clinical operations must be supported with round-the-clock service, including three shifts, weekends, and holidays. To avoid unnecessary interruptions in clinical service, this requirement includes properly trained operators and users, as well as service personnel. Redundancy is a cornerstone in assuring continuity of clinical operations. This includes all PACS components such as acquisition, network interfaces, gateways, archive, and display. Where redundancy is not feasible, spare parts must be readily available. The need for redundancy also includes trained personnel. Procedures for contingency operations in the event of equipment failures must be devised, documented, and rehearsed. Contingency operations might be required in the event of scheduled as well as unscheduled service events, power outages, network outages, or interruption of the radiology information system (RIS) interface. Methods must be developed and implemented for reporting and documenting problems. We have a Trouble Call service that records a voice message and automatically pages the PACS Console Operator on duty. We also have developed a Maintenance Module on our RIS system where service calls are recorded by technologists and service actions are recorded and monitored by PACS support personnel. In a filmless environment, responsibility for the delivery of images to the radiologist and referring physician must be accepted by each imaging supervisor. Thus, each supervisor must initiate processes to verify correct patient and examination identification and the correct count and routing of images with each examination. (+info)