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Sources of non-compliance with clinical practice guidelines in trauma triage: a decision science study

Mohan, D and Rosengart, MR and Farris, C and Fischhoff, B and Angus, DC and Barnato, AE (2012) Sources of non-compliance with clinical practice guidelines in trauma triage: a decision science study. Implementation Science, 7 (1).

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Background: United States trauma system guidelines specify when to triage patients to specialty centers. Nonetheless, many eligible patients are not transferred as per guidelines. One possible reason is emergency physician decision-making. The objective of the study was to characterize sensory and decisional determinants of emergency physician trauma triage decision-making.Methods: We conducted a decision science study using a signal detection theory-informed approach to analyze physician responses to a web-based survey of 30 clinical vignettes of trauma cases. We recruited a national convenience sample of emergency medicine physicians who worked at hospitals without level I/II trauma center certification. Using trauma triage guidelines as our reference standard, we estimated physicians' perceptual sensitivity (ability to discriminate between patients who did and did not meet guidelines for transfer) and decisional threshold (tolerance for false positive or false negative decisions).Results: We recruited 280 physicians: 210 logged in to the website (response rate 74%) and 168 (80%) completed the survey. The regression coefficient on American College of Surgeons - Committee on Trauma (ACS-COT) guidelines for transfer (perceptual sensitivity) was 0.77 (p<0.01, 95% CI 0.68 - 0.87) indicating that the probability of transfer weakly increased as the ACS-COT guidelines would recommend transfer. The intercept (decision threshold) was 1.45 (p<0.01, 95% CI 1.27 - 1.63), indicating that participants had a conservative threshold for transfer, erring on the side of not transferring patients. There was significant between-physician variability in perceptual sensitivity and decisional thresholds. No physician demographic characteristics correlated with perceptual sensitivity, but men and physicians working at non-trauma centers without a trauma-center affiliation had higher decisional thresholds.Conclusions: On a case vignette-based questionnaire, both sensory and decisional elements in emergency physicians' cognitive processes contributed to the under-triage of trauma patients. © 2012 Mohan et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Mohan, Ddem73@pitt.eduDEM730000-0003-2063-0811
Rosengart, MRmrr18@pitt.eduMRR18
Farris, C
Fischhoff, B
Angus, DCangusdc@pitt.eduANGUSDC0000-0002-7026-5181
Barnato, AEprepare@pitt.eduPREPARE
Date: 25 October 2012
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Implementation Science
Volume: 7
Number: 1
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1186/1748-5908-7-103
Schools and Programs: School of Medicine > Critical Care Medicine
School of Medicine > Medicine
School of Medicine > Surgery
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2016 17:22
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2020 13:55


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