The Effect of Removal of Point-of-Care Fecal Occult Blood Testing on Performance of Digital Rectal Examinations in the Emergency Department.
Ann Emerg Med. 2010 Jan 6;
Authors: Cleveland NJ, Yaron M, Ginde AA
STUDY OBJECTIVE: We determine whether removing point-of-care fecal occult blood testing from the emergency department (ED) is associated with a decrease in documented digital rectal examinations. METHODS: We performed a retrospective observational chart review study examining documented digital rectal examinations, before and after removal of a point-of-care fecal occult blood test, on all adult patients who presented to our ED with chief complaints that were likely to warrant a fecal occult blood test (intervention-sensitive). We studied the 6 months immediately before and after switching from bedside fecal occult blood testing to immunohistochemical laboratory fecal occult blood testing. We compared the results with those from a similar cohort of patients who presented during the same period, with chief complaints that would warrant a digital rectal examination for reasons other than fecal occult blood test (intervention-insensitive). RESULTS: A total of 4,981 and 5,557 patients met our inclusion criteria during the before and after intervention periods, respectively. We observed an overall reduction of 10% (95% confidence interval [CI] 8% to 12%) in digital rectal examinations in patients with intervention-sensitive chief complaints. The largest relative decreases in digital rectal examinations were observed in patients with chief complaints of abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting, and diarrhea. Smaller decreases were observed in gastrointestinal bleeding, constipation, and rectal problem. There was an overall reduction of 3% (95% CI 0% to 5%) in documented digital rectal examinations in intervention-insensitive chief complaints. After controlling for all covariates, digital rectal examinations decreased in the postintervention period for intervention-sensitive (odds ratio 0.44 [95% CI 0.39 to 0.50]) and, to a lesser extent, for intervention-insensitive (odds ratio 0.67 [95% CI 0.52 to 0.86]) conditions. CONCLUSION: Removal of point-of-care fecal occult blood test from our ED was associated with a reduction in digital rectal examinations, particularly among chief complaints that may require fecal occult blood testing.
PMID: 20060198 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]