Hospital-level variation in the percentage of admissions originating in the emergency department.
Am J Emerg Med. 2011 Dec 26;
Authors: Studnicki J, Platonova EA, Fisher JW
PURPOSE: Well over half of all US hospital patients are now admitted directly through the emergency department (ED) rather than scheduled through the admissions department by a referring member of the medical staff. This study sought to understand hospital-level variation in the percentage of admissions originating in the ED. BASIC PROCEDURES: This was a retrospective, cross-sectional analysis of 5 748 375 ED visits and 2 265 478 inpatient discharge occurring in 192 short-term acute Florida hospitals in calendar year 2005. MAIN FINDINGS: Hospitals with increasing percentages of patients admitted through the ED are smaller in scale with fewer admissions, beds, and smaller medical staffs but admit a higher percentage of their ED visits to the hospital. Patients in these hospitals are increasingly Hispanic, older, Medicare insured, and likely to represent a preventable ambulatory sensitive condition. CONCLUSIONS: The increasing rate of admissions from the ED department is a national trend, but there is substantial variation at the hospital level. In Florida, measures of hospital scale and an older population with some limitations in access to, or the quality of, primary care are the factors influencing hospital-level variation. Factors implicated in increased ED use such as ED visit acuity, lack of insurance, and race are not important contributory variables. The process of admission and, particularly, the role of the organized medical staff in this process are evolving, and the consequences of these changes require further research.
PMID: 22205007 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]