Objective The need for clinical staff to reliably identify patients with a shortened life expectancy is an obstacle to improving palliative and end-of-life care. We developed and evaluated the feasibility of an automated tool to identify patients with a high risk of death in the next year to prompt treating physicians to consider a palliative approach and reduce the identification burden faced by clinical staff.
Methods Two-phase feasibility study conducted at two quaternary healthcare facilities in Toronto, Canada. We modified the Hospitalised-patient One-year Mortality Risk (HOMR) score, which identifies patients having an elevated 1-year mortality risk, to use only data available at the time of admission. An application prompted the admitting team when patients had an elevated mortality risk and suggested a palliative approach. The incidences of goals of care discussions and/or palliative care consultation were abstracted from medical records.
Results Our model (C-statistic=0.89) was found to be similarly accurate to the original HOMR score and identified 15.8% and 12.2% of admitted patients at Sites 1 and 2, respectively. Of 400 patients included, the most common indications for admission included a frailty condition (219, 55%), chronic organ failure (91, 23%) and cancer (78, 20%). At Site 1 (integrated notification), patients with the notification were significantly more likely to have a discussion about goals of care and/or palliative care consultation (35% vs 20%, p = 0.016). At Site 2 (electronic mail), there was no significant difference (45% vs 53%, p = 0.322).
Conclusions Our application is an accurate, feasible and timely identification tool for patients at elevated risk of death in the next year and may be effective for improving palliative and end-of-life care.
- trigger tools
- decision support, computerized
- healthcare quality improvement
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