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Clinical Trial Summary

Sepsis is a life-threatening emergency for which provider-to-provider telemedicine has been used to improve quality of care. The objective of this study is to measure the impact of rural tele-emergency consultation on long-term health care costs and outcomes through decreasing organ failure, hospital length-of-stay, and readmissions.

Clinical Trial Description

Sepsis is responsible for over 1.7 million hospitalizations at a cost of $26 billion annually, making it the most expensive acute care condition in US hospitals. High-quality early sepsis care has been associated with decreased organ failure, shorter ICU and hospital length-of-stay, and improved survival. Rural sepsis patients are more likely to be transferred to tertiary centers, and they also have higher mortality and health care costs. ED-based telemedicine (tele-ED) consultation between a rural provider and a board-certified emergency physician may deliver the expertise to reduce care delays and improve outcomes while avoiding unnecessary costs. In 2017, the study team partnered with Avera eCARE, the largest tele-ED provider in North America, to implement a standard telemedicine-based sepsis care pathway. Subsequently, the investigators showed (using patient-level primary data collection across several networks) that tele-ED use was associated with improved adherence with international sepsis guidelines. In addition to its association with short-term clinical outcomes, however, the study team hypothesize that telemedicine may also decrease costs. The investigators have shown that high-quality sepsis care is associated with decreased readmissions and post-discharge mortality. High quality care may also prevent organ failure, avoid ICU admissions, reduce mechanical ventilation and vasopressor use, decrease ICU and hospital length-of-stay, and decrease post-discharge care-primarily through reducing avoidable organ failure. All of these factors are likely to have a significant effect in terms of reducing healthcare cost. The objective of the proposed project is to measure the effect of tele-ED consultation at reducing healthcare costs and long-term outcomes in sepsis patients in rural EDs. The following primary hypotheses will be tested: - Total healthcare expenses and 90-day mortality will be lower in patients treated in a tele-ED hospital, with the effect primarily through reduced hospital length-of-stay and fewer readmissions. - Total expenses and mortality will be lower in cases where tele-ED is used vs. matched controls in non-tele-ED hospitals. ;

Study Design

Related Conditions & MeSH terms

NCT number NCT05072145
Study type Observational
Source University of Iowa
Contact Nicholas Mohr, MD
Phone 319-353-6360
Email [email protected]
Status Not yet recruiting
Start date December 15, 2021
Completion date January 1, 2023

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