Private hospital emergency departments in Australia : challenges and opportunities

Fitzgerald, Gerard, Toloo, Ghasem, He, Jun, Doig, Gavin, Rosengren, David, Rothwell, Sean, Sultana, Ron, Costello, Steve, & Hou, Xiang-Yu (2013) Private hospital emergency departments in Australia : challenges and opportunities. Emergency Medicine Australasia, 25(3), pp. 233-240.

View at publisher



Public hospital EDs in Australia have become increasingly congested because of increasing demand and access block. Six per cent of ED patients attend private hospital EDs whereas 45% of the population hold private health insurance.


This study describes the patients attending a small selection of four private hospital EDs in Queensland and Victoria, and tests the feasibility of a private ED database.


De-identified routinely collected patient data were provided by the four participating private hospital and amalgamated into a single data set.


The mean age of private ED patients was 52 years. Males outnumbered females in all age groups except > 80 years. Attendance was higher on weekends and Mondays, and between 08.00 and 20.00 h. There were 6.6% of the patients triaged as categories 1 and 2, and 60% were categories 4 or 5. There were 36.4% that required hospital admission. Also, 96% of the patients had some kind of insurance. Furthermore, 72% were self-referred and 12% were referred by private medical practitioners. Approximately 25% arrived by ambulance. There were 69% that completed their ED treatment within 4 h.


This study is the first public description of patients attending private EDs in Australia. Private EDs have a significant role to play in acute medical care and in providing access to private hospitals which could alleviate pressure on public EDs. This study demonstrates the need for consolidated data based on a consistent data set and data dictionary to enable system-wide analysis, benchmarking and evaluation

Impact and interest:

0 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 61365
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: demand, emergency department, private hospital
DOI: 10.1111/1742-6723.12082
ISSN: 1742-6723
Subjects: 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 > Research Centres > Centre for Emergency & Disaster Management
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Deposited On: 15 Jul 2013 01:40
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2013 01:29

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page