Background: Adults with sickle cell disease (SCD) vaso-occlusive crisis (VOC) frequently seek care in the emergency department (ED) which often results in hospital admissions. The Hematology-Oncology at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center collaborated with organization's ED to develop and implement individualized care plans for adults with SCD presenting to the ED with the goal of adequate outpatient management, reduction in hospital admissions and optimizing the economic impact of sickle cell hospitalization.

Methods: Baseline data was collected from November 2014 through June 2018. Medical Director, Oncology Unit Manager, and Performance Improvement Professional (PIP) collaborated with the ED Medical Director and representatives to develop a disease-specific individualized acute care plan for our adult SCD patient population. 100% case were reviewed by PIP and bi-monthly aggregate case review were done by the Medical Director/Unit Manager. The care plan include pathways for lab collection, pain medication regimens, prescription opioid refill policies, a timeline for outpatient follow-up, and criteria for hospital admission. These care pathways were then transitioned to order sets within the organization's electronic medical record.

Results: Implementation of the SCD care plans resulted in significant improvement of length of stay(LOS) index indicating better management during the hospital stay, resulting in reduction of the inpatient pharmacy cost per encounter in half as mentioned in Table 1. Admissions per patient did not change significantly, but ED visits per patient went down and clinic visits per patient went up pointing to better management outside of acute care as shown in Table 2. Last 4 quarters of this study showed marked decrease in cost per patient as indicated in Table 3.

Conclusions: This study clearly demonstrates that collaboration with the ED and development of care plans can improve the overall patient care for this population resulting in better outpatient management. Implementing this protocol has not only improved the patient experience but also has decreased the financial toxicity for the patient and the institution. We would encourage other institutions to implement such protocol in the ED and in the outpatient setting to meet the patient needs.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.