Chest Pain Choice tool decreases health care utilization


Background: Patients who complain of chest pain make up over a quarter of annual hospital admissions, but not all chest pain is attributable to acute coronary syndrome. The one-page CPC document was developed to facilitate joint decision making between low-risk patients and providers regarding the work-up for chest pain.

Study design: Parallel, randomized, controlled trial.

Setting: Six U.S. medical centers.

Synopsis: After reviewing the CPC tool, patients with low cardiac risk who presented to the ED with chest pain were given the option either to be admitted to the hospital for cardiac testing or to not be admitted and instead follow up with their primary care doctor or a cardiologist within 3 days to determine what further cardiac work-up might be warranted.

Upon reviewing data obtained from 898 patient diaries regarding use of health care services, as well as from billing data from the medical centers, the researchers found no statistically significant difference between patients who used the CPC tool and those treated under usual care with regard to hospital readmission rates, length of stay in the ED, repeat ED visits, or clinic visits. However, at the 45-day follow-up mark, those in the CPC group had undergone fewer tests and cardiac imaging studies (decrease of 125.6 tests/100 patients; 95% confidence interval, 29.3-221.6).

Bottom line: Shared decision making between providers and patients with low cardiac risk factors that used the Chest Pain Choice tool decreased some health care utilization without worsening outcomes.

Citation: Schaffer JT et al. Impact of a shared decision-making intervention on health care utilization: A secondary analysis of the Chest Pain Choice multicenter randomized trial. Acad Emerg Med. 2018 Mar;25(3):293-300.

Dr. Maryann T. Ally, Division of Hospital Medicine, UC San Diego Health

Dr. Maryann T. Ally

Dr. Ally is a hospitalist at UC San Diego Health and an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Diego.

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