Strategies to Optimize #Nephrolithiasis Emergency Care (STONE): Prospective Evaluation of an Emergency Department Clinical Pathway

To convene a multi-disciplinary panel to develop a pathway for Emergency Department (ED) patients with suspected nephrolithiasis and then prospectively evaluate its effect on patient care.

Materials and Methods
The STONE Pathway was developed and linked to order sets within our Electronic Health Record in April 2019. Records were prospectively reviewed for ED patients who underwent ultrasound or Computerized Tomography (CT) to evaluate suspected nephrolithiasis between January 2019 and August 2019 within our institution. The primary outcome measure was the proportion of patients whose ED CT was low dose (<4 mSv). Secondary outcome measures included receipt of pathway-concordant pain medications and urine strainers. Order set utilization was evaluated as a process measure. Balance measures assessed included repeat ED visits, imaging, hospitalizations, and a urologic clinic visit or surgery within 30 days of discharge.

441 patients underwent ED imaging, of whom 261 (59%) were evaluated for suspected nephrolithiasis. The STONE Pathway was used in 50 (30%) eligible patients. Patients treated with the Pathway were more likely to undergo low-dose CTs (49% vs. 23%, p<0.001), and receive guideline-concordant pain medications such as NSAIDs (90% vs. 62%, p<0.001), and were less likely to return to the ED within 30 days (13% vs. 2%, p=0.01). These measures demonstrated special cause variation following Pathway release.

Clinical pathways increase compliance with evidence-based practices for pain control and imaging in nephrolithiasis emergency care and may improve the delivery of value-based care.