TUH Project wins Award for Best Hospital Avoidance Initiative  

by Alex Greaney
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A Tallaght University Hospital (TUH) project was awarded ‘The Best Hospital Avoidance Initiative’ at the recent HSE Spark Innovation Summit, writes Alex Greaney.

The new pathway to optimise the management of headache patients attending ED/AMU and avoid hospital admission was led by Dr Petya Bogdanova-Mihaylova, Consultant Neurologist. Support from the Neurology, Emergency and Radiology Departments, Acute Medical Unit, Operations, and Innovation Team was critical to the success of the initiative. The project had been awarded €25,000 to support a pilot from the competitive Spark Hospital Innovation Fund. 

This project aimed to reduce hospital admission by providing a safe alternative pathway for patients presenting to ED/AMU with a chief complaint of headache (urgent secondary headaches excluded), with expedited outpatient MRI brain and rapid access Neurology outpatient review, thus reducing inpatient stays and improving specialist access for this cohort of patients. Over eight months, from September 2022 to April 2023 103 headache patients who presented to ED/AMU had an MRI Brain performed as part of the project and 90% of them had subsequent review in the Consultant-Led rapid access headache clinic. 

The pilot over this time was seen to be significantly beneficial with: 

·       Avoided hospital admissions with estimated avoidance of 309 bed days 

·       Reduced ED re-attendance rate: 4/103 re-attended ED, none with a primary complaint headache 

·       Improved staff satisfaction with very positive feedback from ED/AMU staff 

·       Direct positive effect on the Hospital burden with a significant reduction in inpatient headache-related referrals 

·       Better patient experience: as a result of this initiative patients have received specialist headache care in a timely manner and in a more suitable care environment. Feedback yielded 100% patient satisfaction 

·       Estimated savings of >€2,400 per patient, giving an estimated total saving of more than €240,000 over this period 

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