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Project Director, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, University of Massachusetts Medical School, USA
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Tianjing Li, MD, MHS, PhD
Director, Cochrane Eyes and Vision United States Satellite, Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA
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Professor, Rutgers University School of Health Professions, USA
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Recently published projects
Published on April 16, 2018
Physiologic Predictors of Severe Injury: Systematic Review [Entered Retrospectively]
138 Studies • 3 Key Questions • 1 Extraction Forms
Objectives: Objectives. To systematically identify and summarize evaluations of measures of circulatory and respiratory compromise, focusing on measures that can be used in field assessment by emergency medical services to inform decisions about the level of trauma care needed. We identified research on the ability of different measures to predict whether a patient was seriously injured and thus required transport to the highest level of trauma care available.
Data sources. We searched Ovid MEDLINE®, CINAHL®, and the Cochrane databases from 1996 through August 2017. Reference lists of included articles were reviewed for additional relevant citations.
Review methods. We included studies of individual measures and measures that combined circulatory, respiratory, and level of consciousness assessment. Evaluations included diagnostic accuracy (sensitivity and specificity) and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC). We used data provided to calculate values that were not reported and pooled estimates across studies when feasible.
Results. We identified and included 138 articles reporting results of 134 studies. Circulatory compromise measures evaluated in these studies included systolic blood pressure, heart rate, shock index, lactate, base deficit, and heart rate variability or complexity. The respiratory measures evaluated included respiration rate, oxygen saturation, partial pressure of carbon dioxide, and need for airway support. Many different combination measures were identified, but most were evaluated in only one or two studies. Pooled AUROCs from out-of-hospital data were 0.67 for systolic blood pressure (moderate strength of evidence); 0.67 for heart rate, 0.72 for shock index, 0.77 for lactate, 0.70 for respiratory rate, and 0.89 for Revised Trauma Score combination measure (all low strength of evidence); and were considered poor to fair. The only AUROC that reached a level considered excellent was for the Glasgow Coma Scale, age, and arterial pressure (GAP) combination measure (AUROC, 0.96; estimate based on emergency department data). All of the measures had low sensitivities and comparatively high specificities (e.g., sensitivities ranging from 13% to 74% and specificities ranging from 62% to 96% for out-of-hospital pooled estimates).
Conclusions. Physiologic measures usable in triaging trauma patients have been evaluated in multiple studies; however, their predictive utilities are moderate and far from ideal. Overall, the measures have low sensitivities, high specificities, and AUROCs in the poor-to-fair range. Combination measures that include assessments of consciousness seem to perform better, but whether they are feasible and valuable for out-of-hospital use needs to be determined. Modification of triage measures for children or older adults is needed, given that the measures perform worse in these age groups; however, research has not yet conclusively identified modifications that result in better performance.
Telehealth for Acute and Chronic Care Consultations
216 Studies • 5 Key Questions • 1 Extraction Forms
Objectives: Objectives: To conduct a systematic review to identify and summarize the available evidence about the effectiveness of telehealth consultations and to explore using decision modeling techniques to supplement the review. Telehealth consultations are defined as the use of telehealth to facilitate collaboration between two or more providers, often involving a specialist, or among clinical team members, across time and/or distance. Consultations may focus on the prevention, assessment, diagnosis, and/or clinical management of acute or chronic conditions.
Data Sources. We searched Ovid MEDLINE®, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CCRCT), and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL®) to identify studies published from 1996 to May 2018. We also reviewed reference lists of identified studies and systematic reviews, and we solicited published or unpublished studies through an announcement in the Federal Register. Data for the model came both from studies identified via the systematic review and from other sources.
Methods. We included comparative studies that provided data on clinical, cost, or intermediate outcomes associated with the use of any technology to facilitate consultations for inpatient, emergency, or outpatient care. We rated studies for risk of bias and extracted information about the study design, the telehealth interventions, and results. We assessed the strength of evidence and synthesized the findings using quantitative and qualitative methods. An exploratory decision model was developed to assess the potential economic impact of telehealth consultations for traumatic brain injuries in adults.
Results. The search yielded 9,366 potentially relevant citations. Upon review, 8,356 were excluded and the full text of 1,010 articles was pulled for review. Of these, 233 articles met our criteria and were included—54 articles evaluated inpatient consultations, 73 emergency care, and 106 outpatient care.
The overall results varied by setting and clinical topic, but generally the findings are that telehealth improved outcomes or that there was no difference between telehealth and the comparators. Remote intensive care unit (ICU) consultations likely reduce ICU and total hospital mortality with no significant difference in ICU or hospital length of stay; specialty telehealth consultations likely reduce the time patients spend in the emergency department; telehealth for emergency medical services likely reduces mortality for patients with heart attacks, and remote consultations for outpatient care likely improve access and a range of clinical outcomes (moderate strength of evidence in favor of telehealth). Findings with lower confidence are that inpatient telehealth consultations may reduce length of stay and costs; telehealth consultations in emergency care may improve outcomes and reduce costs due to fewer transfers and also may reduce outpatient visits and costs due to less travel (low strength of evidence in favor of telehealth). Current evidence reports no difference in clinical outcomes with inpatient telehealth specialty consultations, no difference in mortality but also no difference in harms with telestroke consultations, and no difference in satisfaction with outpatient telehealth consultations (low strength of evidence of no difference). Too few studies reported information on potential harms from outpatient telehealth consultations for conclusions to be drawn (insufficient evidence).
An exploratory cost model underscores the importance of perspective and assumptions in using modeling to extend evidence and the need for more detailed data on costs and outcomes when telehealth is used for consultations. For example, a model comparing telehealth to transfers and in-person neurosurgical consultations for acute traumatic brain injury identified that the impact of telehealth on costs may depend on multiple factors including how alternatives are organized (e.g., if the telehealth and in-person options are part of the same health care system) and whether the cost of a telehealth versus an in-person consultation differ.
Conclusions. In general, the evidence indicates that telehealth consultations are effective in improving outcomes or providing services with no difference in outcomes; however, the evidence is stronger for some applications, and less strong or insufficient for others. Exploring the use of a cost model underscored that the economic impact of telehealth consultations depends on the perspective used in the analysis. The increase in both interest and investment in telehealth suggests the need to develop a research agenda that emphasizes rigor and focuses on standardized outcome comparisons that can inform policy and practice decisions.