Selecting cases for feedback to pre-hospital clinicians: A pilot study

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Background: There are currently limited avenues for routine feedback from hospitals to pre-hospital clinicians aimed at improvements in clinical practice. Objective The aim of this study was to pilot a method for selectively identifying cases where there was a clinically significant difference between the pre-hospital and in-hospital diagnoses that could have led to a difference in pre-hospital patient care. Methods: This was a single-centre retrospective study involving cases randomly selected through informatics extraction of final diagnoses at hospital discharge. Additional data on demographics, triage and diagnoses were extracted by explicit chart review. Blinded groups of pre-hospital and in-hospital clinicians assessed data to detect clinically significant differences between pre-hospital and in-hospital diagnoses. Results: Most (96.9%) patients were of Australasian Triage Scale category 1-3 and in-hospital mortality rate was 32.9%. Of 353 cases, 32 (9.1%; 95% CI: 6.1-12.1) were determined by both groups of clinical assessors to have a clinically significant difference between the pre-hospital and final in-hospital diagnoses, with moderate inter-rater reliability (kappa score 0.6, 95% CI: 0.5-0.7). Conclusion: A modest proportion of cases demonstrated discordance between the pre-hospital and in-hospital diagnoses. Selective case identification and feedback to pre-hospital services using a combination of informatics extraction and clinician consensus approach can be used to promote ongoing improvements to pre-hospital patient care. What is known about the topic? Highly trained pre-hospital clinicians perform patient assessments and early interventions while transporting patients to healthcare facilities for ongoing management. Feedback is necessary to allow for continual improvements; however, the provision of formal selective feedback regarding diagnostic accuracy from hospitals to pre-hospital clinicians is currently not routine. What does this paper add? For a significant proportion of patients, there is a clinically important difference in the diagnosis recorded by their pre-hospital clinician compared with their final in-hospital diagnosis. These clinically significant differences in diagnoses between pre-hospital and in-hospital clinicians were most notable among acute myocardial infarction and trauma subgroups of patients in this study. What are the implications for practitioners? Identification of patients who have a significant discrepancy between their pre-hospital and in-hospital diagnoses could lead to the development of feedback mechanisms to pre-hospital clinicians. Providing pre-hospital clinicians with this selective feedback would be intended to promote ongoing improvements in pre-hospital assessments and thereby to improve service delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-310
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Health Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • diagnosis
  • emergency medical services
  • feedback
  • paramedic
  • pre-hospital care
  • quality of healthcare

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