J Gen Intern Med. 2023 Mar 29. doi: 10.1007/s11606-023-08146-y. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Code status orders in hospitalized patients guide urgent medical decisions. Inconsistent terminology and treatment options contribute to varied interpretations.
OBJECTIVE: To compare two code status order options, traditional (three option) and modified to include additional care options (four option).
DESIGN: Prospective, randomized, cross-sectional survey conducted on February-March 2020. Participants were provided with six clinical scenarios and randomly assigned to the three or four option code status order. In three scenarios, participants determined the most appropriate code status. Three scenarios provided clinical details and code status and respondents were asked whether they would provide a particular intervention. This study was conducted at three urban, academic hospitals.
PARTICIPANTS: Clinicians who routinely utilize code status orders. Of 4006 participants eligible, 549 (14%) were included.
MAIN MEASURES: The primary objective was consensus (most commonly selected answer) based on provided code status options. Secondary objectives included variables associated with participant responses, participant code status model preference, and participant confidence about whether their selections would match their peers.
KEY RESULTS: In the three scenarios participants selected the appropriate code status, there was no difference in consensus for the control scenario, and higher consensus in the three option group (p-values < 0.05) for the remaining two scenarios. In the scenarios to determine if a clinical intervention was appropriate, two of the scenarios had higher consensus in the three option group (p-values 0.018 and < 0.05) and one had higher consensus in the four option group (p-value 0.001). Participants in the three option model were more confident that their peers selected the same code status (p-value 0.0014); however, most participants (72%) preferred the four option model.
CONCLUSIONS: Neither code status model led to consistent results. The three option model provided consistency more often; however, the majority of participants preferred the four option model.