The growing demand for emergency healthcare

FitzGerald, Gerry, Toloo, Sam, & Aitken, Peter (2013) The growing demand for emergency healthcare. In 18th World Congress on Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WCDEM), 28-31 May 2013, Manchester, United Kingdom.

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Emergency health is a critical component of health systems; one increasingly congested from growing demand and blocked access to care. The Emergency Health Services Queensland (EHSQ) study aimed to identify the factors driving increased demand for emergency healthcare. This study examined data on patients treated by the ambulance service and Emergency Departments across Queensland. Data was derived from the Queensland Ambulance Service’s (QAS) Ambulance Information Management System and electronic Ambulance Report Form and from the Emergency Department Information System (EDIS). Data was obtained for the period 2001-02 through to 2009-10. A snapshot of users for the 2009-10 year was used to describe the characteristics of users and comparisons made with the year 2003-04 to identify trends. Per capita demand for EDs has increased by 2% per annum over the decade and for ambulance by 3.7% per annum. The growth in ED demand is most significant in more urgent triage categories with decline in less urgent patients. The growth is most prominent amongst patients suffering injuries and poisoning, amongst both men and women and across all age groups. Patients from lower socioeconomic areas appear to have higher utilisation rates and the utilisation rate for indigenous people exceeds those of other backgrounds. The utilisation rates for immigrant people is less than Australian born however it has not been possible to eliminate the confounding impact of age and socioeconomic profiles. These findings contribute to an understanding of the growth in demand for emergency health. It is evident that the growth is amongst patients in genuine need of emergency healthcare and public rhetoric that congested emergency health services is due to inappropriate attendees is unsustainable. The growth in demand over the last decade reflects not only on changing demographics of the Australian population but also changes in health status, standards of acute health care and other social factors.

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ID Code: 60613
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: An abstract of this presentation was published in: Prehospital and Disaster Medicine / Volume 28 / Supplement S1 / May 2013, s158. [Conference item ID 473]
Keywords: Emergency health services, Utilisation, Demand, CEDM
DOI: 10.1017/S1049023X13000472
ISSN: 1049-023X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Health and Community Services (111708)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Health Care Administration (111709)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Centre for Emergency & Disaster Management
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Please consult the authors.
Deposited On: 05 Jun 2013 00:22
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2017 14:43

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