The 'four-hour target' and the impact on Australian metropolitan acute surgical services

Perera, Marlon L., Gnaneswaran, Neiraja, Roberts, Matthew J., Giles, Marian, Liew, Danny, Ritchie, Peter and Chan, Steven T. (2015) The 'four-hour target' and the impact on Australian metropolitan acute surgical services. ANZ Journal of Surgery, 86 1-2: 74-78. doi:10.1111/ans.13186

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Author Perera, Marlon L.
Gnaneswaran, Neiraja
Roberts, Matthew J.
Giles, Marian
Liew, Danny
Ritchie, Peter
Chan, Steven T.
Title The 'four-hour target' and the impact on Australian metropolitan acute surgical services
Journal name ANZ Journal of Surgery   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1445-1433
Publication date 2015-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/ans.13186
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 86
Issue 1-2
Start page 74
End page 78
Total pages 5
Place of publication Richmond, VIC Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The National Emergency Access Targets (NEAT), introduced in 2012, guides the clearance of emergency department (ED) presentations within 4 h of initial presentation. We aim to assess the impact of NEAT on acute surgical services at a large metropolitan centre.

A retrospective cohort study was performed and data were collected from electronic patient management systems. The control group was represented by ED presentations between June and September 2011, 1 year prior to the introduction of NEAT. The two study groups consisted of ED presentations between June and September 2012 and 2013 respectively. Outcome measures included time to appendicectomy and cholecystectomy, inpatient length of stay (IPLOS) (for operative and non-operative cases), out-of-hours operating and hospital mortality rates.

In total, 2619 inpatient episodes were included, with a trend showing increasing admissions throughout the study periods (P < 0.001). Time to surgical review and ED length of stay decreased significantly (P < 0.001). Time from emergency presentation to emergency appendicectomy and cholecystectomy remained unchanged and procedures performed out-of-hours increased significantly from 20.9% to 42.9% (P < 0.001). Median IPLOS for operative and non-operative patients was reduced during the study from 2.05 to 1.84 days (P < 0.001). Inter-unit transfers within 48 h of presentation increased significantly from 5.3% to 14.7% (P < 0.001).

The early results following the implementation of NEAT have been correlated with increased efficiency in ED clearance and increased burden on surgical operative and inpatient outcomes. While improvements in IPLOS were observed, they must be considered in the context of increased lower-acuity admissions and out-of-hours operating.
Keyword Crowding
Length of stay
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Created: Mon, 17 Aug 2015, 21:52:34 EST by Roheen Gill on behalf of School of Medicine