Health data exchanges could prevent code blues, Epic finds

Having access to external health data is linked to a lower likelihood of code blue incidents occurring in the emergency department, a new study from Epic Systems found. 

Researchers analyzed 95 million emergency department visits from Jan. 1, 2017, to Oct. 1, 2023, with emergency severity index levels 1 to 3, including 82 million visits with Care Everywhere documents. The study aimed to determine whether the presence of Care Everywhere documents in patient charts is associated with a decreased risk of code blue events in the emergency department. 

Here's what the study found:

  • Excluding unknown or ESI levels 4 and 5, the study found a 34% to 63% reduced risk of code blue events in patients with higher acuity in the emergency department, depending on age.

  • The risk reduction increased with age, ranging from no change for patients under 17 to a 51% reduction for those over 65. Sensitivity analyses, accounting for variables like prior-year care and visit volume, yielded consistent results. 

The study focused on patients with at least five years of data in Cosmos, a collaboration of 236 Epic health systems.

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