The influence of physician seniority on disparities of admit/discharge decision making for ED patients.

Link to article at PubMed

The influence of physician seniority on disparities of admit/discharge decision making for ED patients.

Am J Emerg Med. 2012 Mar 16;

Authors: Wu KH, Chen IC, Li CJ, Li WC, Lee WH

Abstract
OBJECTIVES: Differences in disposition between emergency physicians (EPs) have been studied in select patient populations but not in general emergency department (ED) patients. After determining whether a difference existed in admit/discharge decision making of EPs for general ED patients, we focus our study in examining the influence of EP seniority on the decision to discharge ED patients. METHODS: In a 1-year retrospective study, we included a convenience sample of all 18 953 adult nontraumatic ED patients. We reviewed the admit/discharge dispositions at each shift made by 16 EPs. EPs were categorized by seniority to determine whether seniority influenced disposition. Three groups had 5, 4, and 7 EPs each, with >10 years, 5 to 9 years, and <5 years of working experience, respectively. RESULTS: Patient demographics, triage level, and number of patients per shift did not differ statistically between EPs and each group. The number of discharged patients per shift differed statistically between EPs (P < .001) and each group. The most senior EPs had the lowest discharge rates compared with EPs in intermediate and junior groups. They had lower discharge rates for patients at triage levels 1, 2, and 3 as well as for all patients. However, no difference in unscheduled ED revisit rates was found. CONCLUSIONS: EPs vary in their admit/discharge decision making for general ED patients. More importantly, the most senior EPs were found to have the lowest discharge rates compared with their junior colleagues.

PMID: 22424989 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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