Outcomes Associated With Rural Emergency Department Provider-to-Provider Telehealth for Sepsis Care: A Multicenter Cohort Study

Nicholas M. Mohr, Uche Okoro, Karisa K. Harland, Brian M. Fuller, Kalyn Campbell, Morgan B. Swanson, Cole Wymore, Brett Faine, Anne Zepeski, Edith A. Parker, Luke Mack, Amanda Bell, Katie DeJong, Keith Mueller, Elizabeth Chrischilles, Christopher R. Carpenter, Kelli Wallace, Michael P. Jones, Marcia M. Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Study objective: To test the hypothesis that provider-to-provider tele-emergency department care is associated with more 28-day hospital-free days and improved Surviving Sepsis Campaign (SSC) guideline adherence in rural emergency departments (EDs). Methods: Multicenter (n=23), propensity-matched, cohort study using medical records of patients with sepsis from rural hospitals in an established, on-demand, rural video tele-ED network in the upper Midwest between August 2016 and June 2019. The primary outcome was 28-day hospital-free days, with secondary outcomes of 28-day inhospital mortality and SSC guideline adherence. Results: A total of 1,191 patients were included in the analysis, with tele-ED used for 326 (27%). Tele-ED cases were more likely to be transferred to another hospital (88% versus 8%, difference 79%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 75% to 83%). After matching and regression adjustment, tele-ED cases did not have more 28-day hospital-free days (difference 0.07 days more for tele-ED, 95% CI −0.04 to 0.17) or 28-day inhospital mortality (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0.51, 95% CI 0.16 to 1.60). Adherence with both the SSC 3-hour bundle (aOR 0.59, 95% CI 0.28 to 1.22) and complete bundle (aOR 0.45, 95% CI 0.02 to 11.60) were similar. An a priori–defined subgroup of patients treated by advanced practice providers suggested that the mortality was lower in the cohort with tele-ED use (aOR 0.11, 95% CI 0.02 to 0.73) despite no significant difference in complete SSC bundle adherence (aOR 2.88, 95% CI 0.52 to 15.86). Conclusion: Rural emergency department patients treated with provider-to-provider tele-ED care in a mature network appear to have similar clinical outcomes to those treated without.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of emergency medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


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