Conceptual framework for understanding the demand for emergency health services

Toloo, Ghasem (Sam), FitzGerald, Gerard, & Aitken, Peter (2014) Conceptual framework for understanding the demand for emergency health services. In International Conference on Emergency Medicine (ICEM) 2014, 11 - 14 June 2014, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong. (Unpublished)


Background & Objectives

Emergency health services (EHS) throughout the world are increasingly congested. As more people use EHS, factors such as population growth and aging cannot fully explain this increase. Also, focus on patients’ clinical characteristics ignores the role that attitudinal and perceptual factors and motivations play in directing their decisions and actions. The aim of this study is to review and synthesize an integrated conceptual framework for understanding social psychological factors underpinning demand for EHS.


A comprehensive search and review of empirical and theoretical studies about the utilization of EHS was conducted using major medical, health, social and behavioral sciences databases.


A small number of studies used a relevant conceptual framework (e.g. Health Services Utilization Model or Health Belief Model) or their components to analyze patients’ decision to use EHS. The studies evidenced that demand was affected by perceived severity of the condition; perceived costs and benefits (e.g. availability, accessibility and affordability of alternative services); experience, preference and knowledge; perceived and actual social support; and demographic characteristics (e.g. age, sex, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, marital and living circumstances, place of residence).


Conceptual models that are commonly used in areas like social and behavioral sciences have rarely been applied in the EHS utilization field. Understanding patients’ decision-making and associated factors will lay the groundwork for identification of the evidence to inform improved policy responses and the development of demand management strategies. An integrated conceptual framework will be introduced as part of this study.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 72900
Item Type: Conference Item (Poster)
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Emergency health services, Emergency departments, Ambulance, Demand, utilisation, Social psychology
Subjects: 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)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION (160500) > Health Policy (160508)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Social and Community Psychology (170113)
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
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 19 Jun 2014 23:00
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2014 23:00

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