Urinary tract infection (UTI) screening in febrile young children can be painful and time consuming. We implemented a screening protocol for UTI in a high-volume pediatric emergency department (ED) to reduce urethral catheterization, limiting catheterization to children with positive screens from urine bag specimens.
This quality-improvement initiative was implemented using 3 Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles, beginning with a small test of the proposed change in 1 ED area. To ensure appropriate patients received timely screening, care teams discussed patient risk factors and created patient-specific, appropriate procedures. The intervention was extended to the entire ED after providing education. Finally, visual cues were added into the electronic health record, and nursing scripts were developed to enlist family participation. A time-series design was used to study the impact of the 6-month intervention by using a p-chart to determine special cause variation. The primary outcome measure for the study was defined as the catheterization rate in febrile children ages 6 to 24 months.
The ED reduced catheterization rates among febrile young children from 63% to <30% over a 6-month period with sustained results. More than 350 patients were spared catheterization without prolonging ED length of stay. Additionally, there was no change in the revisit rate or missed UTIs among those followed within the hospital’s network.
A 2-step less-invasive process for screening febrile young children for UTI can be instituted in a high-volume ED without increasing length of stay or missing cases of UTI.