(CHARLOTTE, NC) – When a patient presents to an emergency department with concerns of acute chest pain, a key aspect of the workup often includes a specific lab test knows as troponin which is released by damaged heart muscle to help detect heart attacks and other severe illnesses affecting the heart. For years, emergency departments across the country have relied on the serial results of this test, acquired over many hours, to help determine which patients need admission versus being discharged home. The timing of these repeat troponin values can contribute to a longer time in the ED for both patients, their families, and their clinician team who strive for efficiency in admitting and discharging patients safely and rapidly.
Over the last year, a collaborative Novant Health task force, stacked with clinicians from various departments, lab consultants, EHR liaisons, and administration was created and they are working to bring new, high sensitivity cardiac troponin testing to its facilities.
Josie Bowen, MD, an emergency medicine physician with Mid-Atlantic Emergency Medical Associates (MEMA) has been working on the task force since inception and shares how this new test will enable both emergency medicine and inpatient clinicians to evaluate chest pain faster.
She explains how chest pain is one of the most common presenting complaints amongst patients in the ED and the new high sensitivity troponin test is designed to obtain serial results in significantly less time than the traditional, current algorithm and with better accuracy. As a result of this change, the clinician can turn around a quicker diagnosis and plan for the patient.
“It is exciting to have MEMA partner with Novant in this effort with Novant Health to advance patient care and to optimize our patient experience,” says Dr. Bowen. “The impact that the high sensitivity troponin testing will have for our clinicians and patients is tremendous. To gain information faster potentially cutting hours off patient’s time in the ER is a win for everyone.”
New testing and procedures can take a minimum of 18 months to implement and Dr. Bowen notes the task force is on track to hit those milestones. “We are creating all-new protocols and pathways to ensure a comprehensive approach to the new troponin testing with a goal to launch simultaneously to all twelve Novant Health facilities in 2021,” says Dr. Bowen.