Mobile X-ray Outside the Hospital vs. X-ray at the Hospital Challenges Exposed in an Explorative RCT Study

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BACKGROUND: For frail patients, it may sometimes be preferable to carry out X-ray examinations at the patients' own home. The general state of such patients may worsen due to transport and change of environment when transported for examination at the hospital.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of the randomized controlled trial (RCT) was to investigate if mobile X-ray improves healthcare for fragile patients. The primary outcome was the number of hospitalizations.

DATA SOURCES: We collected all data using questionnaires and data from the Electronic Patient Record (ER).

PARTICIPANTS: Patients referred to a mobile X-ray examination living in nursing homes and homes for the elderly in the Aarhus Municipality (Denmark).

INTERVENTION: mobile X-ray examinations compared to those at the hospital. Study appraisal: Data were collected and stored using the computer programme Redcap. Stata was used for statistical calculations. One hundred and thirty-six patients were included in the RCT. We did not find significant differences between mobile X-ray (intervention) and X-ray at the hospital (control) concerning hospitalizations and number of hospital days. Challenges: We met several challenges when carrying out RCT in the planned study population. Doctors often withdraw the referral when they found out that their patient should go to the hospital instead of mobile X-ray. The nursing home staff often considered the patient too frail to allow the test person to ask questions post X-ray. We also met challenges in the randomization method resulting in bias in the first data collection, so we had to adjust the randomization method.

CONCLUSIONS: For the fragile patients in the present explorative study, mobile X-ray did not significantly reduce the number of hospitalizations compared to X-ray at the hospital. Yet, mobile X-ray may be a new important diagnostic tool for more precise treatment to the frailest patients for whom transportation to the hospital is too exhausting. We need studies with focus on this aspect. We also recommend future RCT studies in a population for which mobile X-ray has not yet been a possibility.

TidsskriftHealthcare (Basel, Switzerland)
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2020

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