Reducing emergency department (ED) computed tomography (CT) utilization in women treated for gynecologic cancers

Academic Article


  • Objectives: The objective of this quality improvement (QI) project was to decrease the rate of low-value computed tomography (CT) imaging in established gynecologic oncology patients presenting to the emergency department (ED). Methods: This was a cohort study with a before and after design that evaluated implementation of a QI project designed to decrease CT utilization in established gynecologic oncology patients in the ED. The pre-intervention cohort included patients admitted through the ED from 4/1/17 to 5/31/18, while the post-intervention cohort was from 6/1/18 to 5/31/19. The intervention included gynecologic oncology consultation before CT on patients who had imaging within the prior 3 weeks. Details regarding CT, ED length of stay (LOS), and oncologic history were abstracted. The value of CT was determined by consensus from 2 reviewers. Prospective data monitoring evaluated for patient safety. Results: Prior to intervention, there were 129 unique ED encounters in gynecologic oncology patients leading to admission. CT scans were performed in 101 (78.3%) encounters, 57.7% of which were deemed to be of low-value. Following implementation, the CT utilization rate decreased significantly from median monthly rate of 75.2% to 49.1% (p < 0.00001), and the ED LOS decreased from 8.1 to 6.9 h (p = 0.0102). The number of CT scans deemed to be low-value in the post-intervention group decreased to 2 (3.8%). Conclusions: Implementation of an early consultation policy and imaging guidelines led to a significant decrease in unnecessary CT utilization and shorter ED LOS in gynecologic oncology patients presenting to the ED.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Ostby SA; Evans JG; Smith HJ; Boitano TKL; Toboni MD; Heimann MA; Booth JS; Thomas JJ; Michael Straughn J
  • Start Page

  • 288
  • End Page

  • 292
  • Volume

  • 156
  • Issue

  • 2