Improving the accuracy and timeliness of EKG acquisition in the ED

Sunday, 17 November 2013: 11:40 AM

Tamra L. McWaters, BS in Psychology; AD in Nursing - RN.
Emergency Department, University Hospital (UAB), Birmingham, AL

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to use the information for the practical application in their own department/clinic to improve the timeliness of EKG obtainment.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to improve the accuracy/quality of EKGs obtained in their department using educational material provided.

To improve the accuracy and timeliness of electrocardiogram (EKG) acquisition in patients with typical and atypical presentations of cardiac abnormities, a unit-based re-education plan was developed and implemented in the University Emergency Department (UED) at UAB Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. A baseline assessment of lead placement was conducted on a large sample of staff members from various disciplines who are qualified to obtain EKGs. This assessment, which consisted of an anonymous paper quiz modeled after a study done by Rajaganeshan, Ludlam, Francis, Parasramka, and Sutton (2008), both provided baseline data regarding the knowledge of and confidence in lead placement accuracy and generated interest among staff members concerning the results. Consistent with results found by Rajaganeshan et al. (2008), the baseline assessment demonstrated a need for re-education regarding proper lead placement. Staff members on the UED Congress developed the re-education plan, and it targeted two aspects of EKG acquisition: process improvement and staff re-education.  A group composed of Registered Nurses (RNs) and PCTs (PCTs), the two groups who obtain most EKGs in the department, were assembled and named “EKG Champions.”  This group helped develop practical improvements to the processes involved in obtaining EKGs for patients coming through the front entrance as well as those coming through the ambulance bay. Additionally, these “EKG Champions,” after they were re-educated by members of the UED Congress, provided re-education to small groups of their peers on the unit. Badge cards with proper lead placement and indications to obtain an EKG were given to the staff during these sessions, and binders with educational material and process changes were placed in every pod in the Emergency Department.  The paper quiz is currently being re-administered to assess the efficacy of this educational intervention for improving knowledge and confidence in proper lead placement among UED staff that obtain EKGs.