Enhancing the Quality of Prescribing Practices for Older Veterans Discharged from the Emergency Department (EQUiPPED): Preliminary Results from Enhancing Quality of Prescribing Practices for Older Veterans Discharged from the Emergency Department, a Novel Multicomponent Interdisciplinary Quality Improvement Initiative.
Suboptimal medication prescribing for older adults has been described in a number of emergency department (ED) studies. Despite this, few studies have examined ED-targeted interventions aimed at reducing the use of potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs). Enhancing Quality of Prescribing Practices for Older Veterans Discharged from the ED (EQUiPPED) is an ongoing multicomponent, interdisciplinary quality improvement initiative in eight Department of Veterans Affairs EDs. The project aims to decrease the use of PIMs, as identified by the Beers criteria, prescribed to veterans aged 65 and older at the time of ED discharge. Interventions include provider education; informatics-based clinical decision support with electronic medical record-embedded geriatric pharmacy order sets and links to online geriatric content; and individual provider education including academic detailing, audit and feedback, and peer benchmarking. Poisson regression was used to compare the number of PIMs that staff providers prescribed to veterans aged 65 and older discharged from the ED before and after the initiation of the EQUiPPED intervention. Initial data from the first implementation site show that the average monthly proportion of PIMs that staff providers prescribed was 9.4±1.5% before the intervention and 4.6±1.0% after the initiation of EQUiPPED (relative risk=0.48, 95% confidence interval=0.40-0.59, P<.001). Preliminary evaluation demonstrated a significant and sustained reduction of ED-prescribed PIMs in older veterans after implementation of EQUiPPED. Longer follow-up and replication at collaborating sites would allow for an assessment of the effect on health outcomes and costs.