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OBJECTIVES: Emergency transfers (ETs), deterioration events with late recognition requiring ICU interventions within 1 hour of transfer, are associated with adverse outcomes. We leveraged electronic health record (EHR) data to assess the association between ETs and outcomes. We also evaluated the association between intervention timing (urgency) and outcomes.
METHODS: We conducted a propensity-score-matched study of hospitalized children requiring ICU transfer between 2015 and 2019 at a single institution. The primary exposure was ET, automatically classified using Epic Clarity Data stored in our enterprise data warehouse endotracheal tube in lines/drains/airway flowsheet, vasopressor in medication administration record, and/or ≥60 ml/kg intravenous fluids in intake/output flowsheets recorded within 1 hour of transfer. Urgent intervention was defined as interventions within 12 hours of transfer.
RESULTS: Of 2037 index transfers, 129 (6.3%) met ET criteria. In the propensity-score-matched cohort (127 ET, 374 matched controls), ET was associated with higher in-hospital mortality (13% vs 6.1%; odds ratio, 2.47; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.24-4.9, P = .01), longer ICU length of stay (subdistribution hazard ratio of ICU discharge 0.74; 95% CI, 0.61-0.91, P < .01), and longer posttransfer length of stay (SHR of hospital discharge 0.71; 95% CI, 0.56-0.90, P < .01). Increased intervention urgency was associated with increased mortality risk: 4.1% no intervention, 6.4% urgent intervention, and 10% emergent intervention.
CONCLUSIONS: An EHR measure of deterioration with late recognition is associated with increased mortality and length of stay. Mortality risk increased with intervention urgency. Leveraging EHR automation facilitates generalizability, multicenter collaboratives, and metric consistency.