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Using technology to save chest-pain patients

20 June 2019

Rockhampton Hospital is getting rapid diagnoses for chest-pain patients and saving lives.

A new Chest Pain Assessment Service (CPAS) is just one example of the hospital’s Emergency Department working to improve results for patients and decrease repeat hospital visits.

Rockhampton ED sees about 48,000 patients a year. Latest data shows 4287 patients visited the ED in May 2019, with an average wait time to treatment of just 11 minutes.

ED Director Dr Syed Khadri said the Chest Pain Assessment Service meant patients now had access to a vital exercise stress test within 3-4 days, rather than the previous 9-12 month wait.

The service is a partnership between Cardiac Services and the Emergency Department, through a tele-health model from the Cardiac Investigations Unit at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

“Previously patients with chest pain would come to the ED, have bio-chemical testing and if the results of that were negative for acute coronary syndrome the patients would be discharged home,” Dr Khadri said. “Without diagnosis they would not have further treatment and would often come back to ED again and again with the same problem.

“Now, they can have an exercise stress test and get a very fast diagnosis, then if required they can be sent for urgent specialist treatment in Brisbane.”

Dr Khadri said before the collaborative model was introduced last year there were only 3 patient slots a week available for a stress test, and these appointments were quickly filled.

“Since we’ve started CPAS we’ve done 352 stress tests and have found 11 positive results. That means 11 patients have been diagnosed before having a heart attack and have been referred immediately to Brisbane for treatment. The impact of this is huge.

“It is a great example of health informatics using tele-medicine for timely delivery of health care in a regional area,” Dr Khadri said.

Data from May 2019 for the whole of CQHHS:

  • Number of ED presentations: 11,183
  • Average wait time: 9 minutes
  • 52 Category 1 (most sick, seriously injured) patients, all seen on time
  • 83% of patients whose ED stay was within 4 hours (target is 80%)
  • 579 patients had elective surgery (100% seen on time)

Last updated: 27 June 2019

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