Electronic Medical Record Versus Bedside Assessment: How to Evaluate Frailty in Trauma and Emergency General Surgery Patients?

Hannah K. Weiss, Benjamin W. Stocker, Noah Weingarten, Kathryn E. Engelhardt, Brittany A. Cook, Joseph A. Posluszny*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Screening patients for frailty is traditionally done at the bedside. However, recent electronic medical record (EMR)-based, comorbidity-focused frailty assessments have been developed. Our objective was to determine how a common bedside frailty assessment, the trauma and emergency surgery (TEGS) frailty index (FI), compares to an EMR-based frailty assessment in predicting geriatric TEGS outcomes. Materials and methods: We retrospectively reviewed our quality improvement project database consisting of TEGS patients ≥ 65 y old. Patients were screened with the TEGS FI, a 15-question bedside assessment, including comorbidities, physical activity, emotional health, and nutrition. Six of 15 items were retrievable from the enterprise data warehouse (EDW), storing all EMR data from Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and use to calculate the EDW frailty score. Patient characteristics and outcomes were compared between different groups. Results: Two hundred thirty-six geriatric TEGS patients were included, of which 75 (31.8%) were TEGS FI frail and 60 (25.4%) were EDW frail. TEGS FI frail patients had increased length of stay (LOS), loss of independence (LOI), and complications compared to TEGS FI nonfrail patients. EDW frail patients had higher LOS and complications than EDW nonfrail patients but similar LOI. TEGS FI and EDW frail patients had similar outcomes except TEGS FI–only patients more often have LOI. Conclusions: Bedside frailty assessments and EMR-based assessments are both effective in identifying geriatric TEGS patients at risk for increased LOS and complications. However, bedside frailty screening was better at identifying patients who have LOI and may be a more appropriate choice when screening for frailty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)464-475
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Emergency surgery
  • Frailty
  • Geriatric
  • Outcomes
  • Quality improvement
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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