Objective: To compare health service cost and length of stay between a traditional and an accelerated diagnostic approach to assess acute coronary syndromes (ACS) among patients who presented to the emergency department (ED) of a large tertiary hospital in Australia. Design, setting and participants: This historically controlled study analysed data collected from two independent patient cohorts presenting to the ED with potential ACS. The first cohort of 938 patients was recruited in 2008-2010, and these patients were assessed using the traditional diagnostic approach detailed in the national guideline. The second cohort of 921 patients was recruited in 2011-2013 and was assessed with the accelerated diagnostic approach named the Brisbane protocol. The Brisbane protocol applied early serial troponin testing for patients at 0 and 2 h after presentation to ED, in comparison with 0 and 6 h testing in traditional assessment process. The Brisbane protocol also defined a low-risk group of patients in whom no objective testing was performed. A decision tree model was used to compare the expected cost and length of stay in hospital between two approaches. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis was used to account for model uncertainty. Results: Compared with the traditional diagnostic approach, the Brisbane protocol was associated with reduced expected cost of $1229 (95% CI -$1266 to $5122) and reduced expected length of stay of 26 h (95% CI -14 to 136 h). The Brisbane protocol allowed physicians to discharge a higher proportion of low-risk and intermediate-risk patients from ED within 4 h (72% vs 51%). Results from sensitivity analysis suggested the Brisbane protocol had a high chance of being costsaving and time-saving. Conclusions: This study provides some evidence of cost savings from a decision to adopt the Brisbane protocol. Benefits would arise for the hospital and for patients and their families.
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