Where do ED patients come from?

Rego, Joanna, FitzGerald, Gerard, & Toloo, Sam (2011) Where do ED patients come from? In 17th World Congress for Disaster and Emergency Medicine, 31 May - 3 June 2011, Beijing International Convention Center, Beijing.

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A lack of access to primary care services, decreasing numbers of general practitioners (GPs) and free of charge visits have been cited as factors contributing to the rising demand on emergency departments. This study aims to investigate the sources of patients' referrals to emergency departments and track changes in the source of referral over a six-year period in Queensland. Data from Queensland Emergency Departments Information Systems were analyzed based on records from 21 hospitals for the periods 2003–04 to 2008–09. The emergency department data were compared with publicly available data on GPs services and patients attendance rates. In Queensland, the majority of patients are self-referred and a 6.6% growth between 2003–04 and 2008–09 (84.4% to 90% respectively) has been observed. The number of referrals made by GPs, hospitals and community services decreased by 29.4%, 40%, 42% respectively during the six-year period. The full-time workload equivalent GPs per 100,000 people increased by 4.5% and the number of GP attendances measured per capita rose by 4% (4.25 to 4.42). An examination of changes in the triage category of self-referred patients revealed an increase in triage category 1-3 by 60%, 36.2%, and 14.4% respectively. The number of self-referred patients in triage categories 4–5 decreased by 10.5% and 21.9% respectively. The results of this analysis reveal that although the number of services provided by GPs increased, the amount of referrals decreased, and the proportion of self-referred patients to emergency departments rose during the six-year period. In addition, a growth in urgent triage categories (1–3) has been observed, with a decline in the number of non-urgent categories (4–5) among patients who came directly to emergency departments. Understanding the reasons behind this situation is crucial for appropriate demand management. Possible explanations will be sought and presented based on patients' responses to an emergency department users' questionnaire.

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ID Code: 84941
Item Type: Conference Item (Other)
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Abstracts of Scientific and Invited Papers 17th World Congress for Disaster and Emergency Medicine
DOI: 10.1017/S1049023X11000847
ISSN: 1049-023X
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine
Deposited On: 22 Jun 2015 22:52
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2015 22:55

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