Demand for hospital emergency departments : a conceptual understanding

He, Jun, Hou, Xiang-Yu, Toloo, Ghasem, Patrick, Jennifer R., & FitzGerald, Gerry (2011) Demand for hospital emergency departments : a conceptual understanding. World Journal of Emergency Medicine, 2(4), pp. 253-261.

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Emergency departments (EDs) are critical to the management of acute illness and injury, and the provision of health system access. However, EDs have become increasingly congested due to increased demand, increased complexity of care and blocked access to ongoing care (access block). Congestion has clinical and organisational implications. This paper aims to describe the factors that appear to infl uence demand for ED services, and their interrelationships as the basis for further research into the role of private hospital EDs.


Multiple databases (PubMed, ProQuest, Academic Search Elite and Science Direct) and relevant journals were searched using terms related to EDs and emergency health needs.

Literature pertaining to emergency department utilisation worldwide was identified, and articles selected for further examination on the basis of their relevance and significance to ED demand.


Factors influencing ED demand can be categorized into those describing the health needs of the patients, those predisposing a patient to seeking help, and those relating to policy factors such as provision of services and insurance status. This paper describes the factors influencing ED presentations, and proposes a novel conceptual map of their interrelationship.


This review has explored the factors contributing to the growing demand for ED care, the influence these factors have on ED demand, and their interrelationships depicted in the conceptual model.

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ID Code: 48272
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Emergency department, Demand, Crowding, Risk factors, Emergency services, Emergency medicine, Emergency room
DOI: 10.5847/wjem.j.1920-8642.2011.04.002
ISSN: 1920-8642
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300) > Emergency Medicine (110305)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Health Care Administration (111709)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified (111799)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 World Journal of Emergency Medicine
Deposited On: 26 Jan 2012 23:17
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2016 08:21

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