Care Survey (care + survey)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Kinds of Care Survey

  • ambulatory medical care survey
  • hospital ambulatory medical care survey
  • medical care survey
  • national hospital ambulatory medical care survey

  • Selected Abstracts

    National Study on Emergency Department Visits for Transient Ischemic Attack, 1992,2001

    Jonathan A. Edlow MD
    Abstract Objectives: To describe the epidemiology of U.S. emergency department (ED) visits for transient ischemic attack (TIA) and to measure rates of antiplatelet medication use, neuroimaging, and hospitalization during a ten-year time period. Methods: The authors obtained data from the 1992,2001 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. TIA cases were identified by having ICD-9 code 435. Results: From 1992 to 2001, there were 769 cases, representing 2,969,000 ED visits for TIA. The population rate of 1.1 ED visits per 1,000 U.S. population (95% CI = 0.92 to 1.30) was stable over time. TIA was diagnosed in 0.3% of all ED visits. Physicians administered aspirin and other antiplatelet agents to a small percentage of patients, and 42% of TIA patients (95% CI = 29% to 55%) received no medications at all in the ED. Too few data points existed to measure a statistically valid trend over time. Physicians performed computed tomography scanning in 56% (95% CI = 45% to 66%) of cases and performed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in < 5% of cases, and there was a trend toward increased imaging over time. Admission rates did not increase during the ten-year period, with 54% (95% CI = 42% to 67%) admitted. Regional differences were noted, however, with the highest admission rate found in the Northeast (68%). Conclusions: Between 1992 and 2001, the population rate of ED visits for TIA was stable, as were admission rates (54%). Antiplatelet medications appear to be underutilized and to be discordant with published guidelines. Neuroimaging increased significantly. These findings may reflect the limited evidence base for the guidelines, educational deficits, or other barriers to guideline implementation. [source]

    A System for Grouping Presenting Complaints: The Pediatric Emergency Reason for Visit Clusters

    MSCE, Marc H. Gorelick MD
    Abstract Objectives: To develop a set of chief complaint groupings for pediatric emergency department (ED) visits that is comprehensive, parsimonious, clinically sensible, and evidence-based. Methods: Investigators derived candidate chief complaint clusters and ranked them a priori into three perceived severity categories. Pediatric visits were extracted from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS); data for years 1998 and 2000 (n= 13,186) were used for derivation and data for year 1999 (n= 5,365) were used for validation. Visits were assigned to clusters based on the recorded complaints; clusters were combined to ensure adequate numbers for analysis (minimum n= 20), and the clusters were reviewed for clinical sensibility. Resource utilization was categorized in three levels: routine (examination only), ED treatment (tests or therapy in the ED but not admitted), and admission. Area under the receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC) was used to demonstrate the discriminative ability of the clusters in predicting resource use. Results: There were 463 unique complaints in the derivation database; 95 (20%) had a single associated visit. Fifty-two clusters were generated; only 2.4% of complaints were classified as other. The eight most common clusters encompassed 52% of the visits. The top five were fever (11%), extremity pain/injury, vomiting, cough, and trauma (unspecified). Complaint clusters were associated with actual resource utilization: for routine care, the AUC was 0.73 (0.74 in the validation set), and for admission, the AUC was 0.77 (0.74 in the validation set). Both resource utilization and triage classification increased with increased expert severity ranking (test for trend, p < 0.001). Conclusions: The proposed Pediatric Emergency Reason for Visit Cluster (PERC) system is a comprehensive yet parsimonious, clinically sensible means of categorizing pediatric ED complaints. The PERC system's association with measures of acuity and resource utilization makes it a potentially useful tool in epidemiologic and health services research. [source]

    Epidemiology of Adult Psychiatric Visits to U.S. Emergency Departments

    Sara B. Hazlett MD
    Objectives: To characterize psychiatric-related emergency department visits (PREDVs) among adults in the United States for the year 2000 and to analyze PREDV trends from 1992 to 2000. Methods: Emergency department (ED) visit data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey were used to estimate the number of PREDVs for adults aged 18 years and older. A PREDV was defined as any visit with a psychiatric discharge diagnosis (ICD N290, N312) or a suicide attempt (ICD E950,E959). Results: Approximately 4.3 million PREDVs occurred in the United States in the year 2000, yielding an annual rate of 21 visits per 1,000 adults. The PREDV rates increased 15% between 1992 and 2000. The PREDVs accounted for 5.4% of all ED visits. Substance abuse (27%), neuroses (26%), and psychoses (21%) were the most common conditions. African Americans had significantly higher visit rates (29/1,000; 95% CI = 27/1,000 to 31/1,000) compared with whites (23/1,000; 95% CI = 22/1,000 to 25/1,000). Persons with Medicaid (66/1,000; 95% CI = 64/1,000 to 68/1,000) had double the rate of PREDVs than the uninsured (33/1,000; 95% CI = 31/1,000 to 35/1,000) and almost eight times the rate of those privately insured (8/1,000; 95% CI = 7/1,000 to 10/1,000). Patients with psychiatric diagnoses had a higher admission rate (22%) than those with nonpsychiatric diagnoses (15%). The uninsured were the least likely to be admitted for all major psychiatric conditions except suicide (p < 0.0001). Conclusions: Psychiatric-related ED visits represent a substantial and growing number of ED visits each year. Patient characteristics influence the likelihood of a PREDV. Further research is needed to better understand the role that hospital EDs play in the delivery of health care services to those with mental illness. [source]

    Ethnic and Racial Disparities in Emergency Department Care for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

    Jeffrey J. Bazarian MD
    Abstract Objectives: To identify racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in the emergency department (ED) care for mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Methods: A secondary analysis of ED visits in the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey for the years 1998 through 2000 was performed. Cases of mTBI were identified using ICD-9 codes 800.0, 800.5, 850.9, 801.5, 803.0, 803.5, 804.0, 804.5, 850.0, 850.1, 850.5, 850.9, 854.0, and 959.01. ED care variables related to imaging, procedures, treatments, and disposition were analyzed along racial, ethnic, and gender categories. The relationship between race, ethnicity, and selected ED care variables was analyzed using multivariate logistic regression with control for associated injuries, geographic region, and insurance type. Results: The incidence of mTBI was highest among men (590/100,000), Native Americans/Alaska Natives (1026.2/100,000), and non-Hispanics (391.1/100,000). After controlling for important confounders, Hispanics were more likely than non-Hispanics to receive a nasogastric tube (OR, 6.36; 95% CI = 1.2 to 33.6); nonwhites were more likely to receive ED care by a resident (OR, 3.09; 95% CI = 1.9 to 5.0) and less likely to be sent back to the referring physician after ED discharge (OR, 0.47; 95% CI = 0.3 to 0.9). Men and women received equivalent ED care. Conclusions: There are significant racial and ethnic but not gender disparities in ED care for mTBI. The causes of these disparities and the relationship between these disparities and post-mTBI outcome need to be examined. [source]

    Emergency Department Information System Adoption in the United States

    Adam B. Landman MD
    Abstract Objectives:, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 incentivizes adoption of health care information technology (HIT) based on support for specific standards, policies, and features. Limited data have been published on national emergency department information systems (EDIS) adoption, and to our knowledge, no prior studies have considered functionality measures. This study determined current national estimates of EDIS adoption using both single-response rates of EDIS adoption and a novel feature-based definition and also identified emergency department (ED) characteristics associated with EDIS use. Methods:, The 2006 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, a nationally representative sample of ED visits that also surveyed participating EDs on EDIS, was used to estimate EDIS adoption. EDIS adoption rates were calculated using two definitions: 1) single-response,response to a single survey question as to whether the EDIS was complete, partial, or none; and 2) feature-based,based on the reported features supported by the EDIS, systems were categorized as fully functional, basic, other, or none. The relationship of EDIS adoption to specific ED characteristics such as facility type and location was also examined. Results:, Using the single-response classification, 16.1% of EDs had a complete EDIS, while 30.4% had a partial EDIS, and 53.5% had none. In contrast, using a feature-based categorization, 1.7% EDs had a fully functional EDIS, 12.3% had basic, 32.1% had other, and 53.9% had none. In multivariable analysis, urban EDs were significantly more likely to have a fully functional or basic EDIS than were rural EDs. Pediatric EDs were significantly more likely than general EDs to have other EDIS. Conclusions:, Despite more optimistic single-response estimates, fewer than 2% of our nation's EDs have a fully functional EDIS. EDs in urban areas and those specializing in the care of pediatric patients are more likely to support EDIS. Accurate and consistent EDIS adoption estimates are dependent on whether there are standardized EDIS definitions and classifications of features. To realize the potential value of EDIS for improved emergency care, we need to better understand the extent and correlates of the diffusion of this technology and increase emergency medicine engagement in national HIT policy-making. Academic Emergency Medicine 2010; 17:536,544 © 2010 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine [source]

    Dementia and Medicare at Life's End

    Vicki L. Lamb
    Objective. To determine the effect of a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or related dementias (ADRD), and the timing of first ADRD diagnosis, on Medicare expenditures at end of life. Data Sources. Monthly Medicare payment data for the 5 years before death linked to the National Long-Term Care Survey (NLTCS) for decedents between 1996 and 2000 (N=4,899). Data Extraction Methods. Medicare payment data for the 5 years before death were used to compare 5-year and 6-month intervals of expenditures (total and six subcategories of services) for persons with and without a diagnosis of ADRD during the last 5 years of life, controlling for age, gender, race, education, comorbidities, and nursing home status. Covariate matching was used. Principal Findings. On average, ADRD diagnosis was not significantly associated with excess Medicare payments over the last 5 years of life. Regarding the timing of ADRD diagnosis, there were no significant 5-year total expenditure differences for persons diagnosed with dementia more than 1 year before death. Payment differences by 6-month intervals were highly sensitive to timing of ADRD diagnosis, with the highest differences occurring around the time of diagnosis. There were reduced, non-significant, or negative total payment differences after the initial diagnosis for those diagnosed at least 1 year before death. Only those diagnosed with ADRD in the last year of life had significantly higher Medicare payments during the last 12 months of life, primarily for acute care services. Conclusions. ADRD has a smaller impact on total Medicare expenditures than previously reported in controlled studies. The significant differences occur primarily around the time of diagnosis. Although rates of dementia are increasing per se, our results suggest that long-term (1+ year) ADRD diagnoses do not contribute to greater total Medicare costs at the end of life. [source]

    Access to Health Care Services for the Disabled Elderly

    Donald H. Taylor Jr.
    Objective. To determine whether difficulty walking and the strategies persons use to compensate for this deficit influenced downstream Medicare expenditures. Data Source. Secondary data analysis of Medicare claims data (1999,2000) for age-eligible Medicare beneficiaries (N=4,997) responding to the community portion of the 1999 National Long Term Care Survey (NLTCS). Study Design. Longitudinal cohort study. Walking difficulty and compensatory strategy were measured at the 1999 NLTCS, and used to predict health care use as measured in Medicare claims data from the survey date through year-end 2000. Data Extraction. Respondents to the 1999 community NLTCS with complete information on key explanatory variables (walking difficulty and compensatory strategy) were linked with Medicare claims to define outcome variables (health care use and cost). Principal Findings. Persons who reported it was very difficult to walk had more downstream home health visits (1.1/month, p<.001), but fewer outpatient physician visits (,0.16/month, p<.001) after controlling for overall disease burden. Those using a compensatory strategy for walking also had increased home health visits/month (0.55 for equipment, 1.0 for personal assistance, p<.001 for both) but did not have significantly reduced outpatient visits. Persons reporting difficulty walking had increased downstream Medicare costs ranging from $163 to $222/month (p<.001) depending upon how difficult walking was. Less than half of the persons who used equipment to adapt to walking difficulty had their difficulty fully compensated by the use of equipment. Persons using equipment that fully compensated their difficulty used around $300/month less in Medicare-financed costs compared with those with residual difficulty. Conclusions. Difficulty walking and use of compensatory strategies are correlated with the use of Medicare-financed services. The potential impact on the Medicare program is large, given how common such limitations are among the elderly. [source]


    We present a structural model of how families decide who should care for elderly parents. We use data from the National Long-Term Care Survey to estimate and test the parameters of the model. Then we use the parameter estimates to simulate the effects of the existing long-term trends in terms of the common but untested explanations for them. Finally, we simulate the effects of alternative family bargaining rules on individual utility to measure the sensitivity of our results to the family decision-making assumptions we make. [source]

    Potentially Inappropriate Medication Utilization in the Emergency Department Visits by Older Adults: Analysis From a Nationally Representative Sample

    William J. Meurer MD
    Abstract Objectives:, The objectives were to determine the frequency of administration of potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) to older emergency department (ED) patients and to examine recent trends in the rates of PIM usage. Methods:, The data examined during the study were obtained from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS). This study utilized the nationally representative ED data from 2000,2006 NHAMCS surveys. Our sample included older adults (age 65 years and greater) who were treated in the ED and discharged home. Estimated frequencies of PIM-associated ED visits were calculated. A multivariable logistic regression model was created to assess demographic, clinical, and hospital factors associated with PIM administration and to assess temporal trends. Results:, Approximately 19.5 million patients, or 16.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 16.1% to 17.4%) of eligible ED visits, were associated with one or more PIMs. The five most common PIMs were promethazine, ketorolac, propoxyphene, meperidine, and diphenhydramine. The total number of medications prescribed or administered during the ED visit was most strongly associated with PIM use. Other covariates associated with PIM use included rural location outside of the Northeast, being seen by a staff physician only (and not by a resident or intern), presenting with an injury, and the combination of female sex and age 65,74 years. There was a small but significant decrease in the proportion of visits associated with a PIM over the study period. Conclusions:, Potentially inappropriate medication administration in the ED remains common. Given rising concerns about preventable complications of medical care, this area may be of high priority for intervention. Substantial regional and hospital type (teaching versus nonteaching) variability appears to exist. ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 2010; 17:231,237 © 2010 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine [source]

    Relationship Between Patient Age and Duration of Physician Visit in Ambulatory Setting: Does One Size Fit All?

    Agnes Lo BSP, PharmD
    Objectives: To determine whether patient age, the presence of comorbid illness, and the number of prescribed medications influence the duration of a physician visit in an ambulatory care setting. Design: A cross-sectional study of ambulatory care visits made by adults aged 45 and older to primary care physicians. Setting: A probability sample of outpatient follow-up visits in the United States using the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) 2002 database. Participants: Of 28,738 physician visits in the 2002 NAMCS data set, there were 3,819 visits by adults aged 45 and older included in this study for analysis. Measurements: The primary endpoint was the time that a physician spent with a patient at each visit. Covariates included for analyses were patient characteristics, physician characteristics, visit characteristics, and source of payment. Visit characteristics, including the number of diagnoses and the number of prescribed medications, the major diagnoses, and the therapeutic class of prescribed medications, were compared for different age groups (45,64, 65,74, and ,75) to determine the complexity of the patient's medical conditions. Endpoint estimates were computed by age group and were also estimated based on study covariates using univariate and multivariate linear regression. Results: The mean time±standard deviation spent with a physician was 17.9±8.5 minutes. There were no differences in the duration of visits between the age groups before or after adjustment for patient covariates. Patients aged 75 and older had more comorbid illness and were prescribed more medications than patients aged 45 to 64 and 65 to 74 (P<.001). Patients aged 75 and older were also prescribed more medications that require specific monitoring and counseling (warfarin, digoxin, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, diuretics, and levothyroxine) than were patients in other age groups (P<.001). Hypertension, coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure, cerebrovascular disease, and transient ischemic attack were more common in patients aged 75 and older than in other age groups (P<.001). Despite these differences, there were no differences in unadjusted or adjusted duration of physician visit between the age groups. Conclusion: Although patients aged 75 and older had more medical conditions and were at higher risk for drug-related problems than younger patients, the duration of physician visits was similar across the age groups. These findings suggest that elderly patients may require a multidisciplinary approach to optimize patient care in the ambulatory setting. [source]

    Utilization of hospital and outpatient care for adverse cutaneous reactions to medications

    Robert S. Stern MD
    Abstract Purpose To quantify hospitalizations, visits to office based physicians, hospital clinics and emergency departments with primary diagnoses of skin conditions that are often due to drug reaction. Methods I analyzed data from the National Hospital Discharge Summary (1997,2001), National Ambulatory Care Survey (1995,2000) and National Hospital Ambulatory Care Survey (1995,2000) to determine the number of hospitalizations and visits with primary diagnoses of skin conditions that are often attributed to drugs. Using statistical methods for surveys, I determined the demographic characteristics of patients with these diagnoses and compared them with patients seeking care for other reasons. Results In the United States, there are about 5000 hospitalizations each year with a primary diagnosis of erythema multiform, Stevens,Johnson Syndrome or Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, of which 35% are specifically ascribed to drugs. Annually, there are more than 100,000 outpatient visits for these diagnoses and about two million visits for immediate hypersensitivity reactions that may be due to drugs. Outpatient visits for drug eruptions and drug allergies that include a skin component exceed 500,000 annually. Conclusions Skin conditions often attributed to drugs are frequent reasons for hospitalization and physician visits. Optimal care of the individual patients with these conditions requires careful attention to drugs as a possible cause. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

    Antivirals and antibiotics for influenza in the United States, 1995,2002

    Jeffrey A. Linder MD
    Abstract Purpose To measure the rates of antiviral and antibiotic prescribing for patients diagnosed with influenza in the United States. Methods We performed a retrospective analysis of visits to ambulatory clinics and emergency departments in the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) with a diagnosis of influenza that occurred in seven influenza seasons between 1 October 1995 and 31 May 2002 (n,=,1216). Results There were an estimated 22 million visits (95%CI, 17,26 million visits) with a diagnosis of influenza to community ambulatory clinics (88% of visits), hospital ambulatory clinics (3%) and emergency departments (9%) in the United States between the 1995,1996 and the 2001,2002 influenza seasons, inclusive. The sample was 63% adults, 44% male and 84% white. Physicians prescribed antivirals in 19% of visits and antibiotics not associated with an antibiotic-appropriate diagnosis in 26% of visits. In multivariable modeling, independent predictors of antiviral prescribing were adult age (OR, 2.1; 95%CI, 1.1,4.0) and Medicare insurance (OR, 0.1 compared to private insurance; 95%CI, 0.0,0.6). Antiviral prescribing was marginally associated with influenza season (OR, 1.2 per influenza season; 95%CI, 1.0,1.4). Independent predictors of antibiotic prescribing were influenza season (OR, 0.8 per influenza season; 95%CI, 0.7,0.9), male sex (OR, 0.6; 95%CI, 0.4,0.9), adult age (OR, 2.3; 95%CI, 1.2,4.2) and emergency department visits (OR, 0.5 compared to community ambulatory visits; 95%CI, 0.3,0.8). Conclusions Physicians prescribed antiviral medications to 19% of patients they diagnosed with influenza; the proportion that would have been clinically appropriate is unknown. In contrast, physicians prescribed apparently inappropriate antibiotics to 26% of these same patients, a rate that, encouragingly, decreased over time. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

    Perspectives on the Recent Decline in Disability at Older Ages

    A decline has been found in the prevalence of disability among the older U.S. population during the 1980s and 1990s. One source of evidence for this decline is data from the National Long-Term Care Survey (NLTCS). This article investigates possible ambiguities in measuring disability using large-scale household surveys, illustrating the consequences of such problems with new analyses of NLTCS data. The reanalysis suggests a more gradual decline in disability than that found in prior research. The article also discusses three societal trends in areas other than health or functioning that might contribute to declines in disability levels: a reduced supply of informal care, changes in the technology of self-care, and changes in the definition and perception of both "ability" and "disability." [source]

    National Study of Patient, Visit, and Hospital Characteristics Associated With Leaving an Emergency Department Without Being Seen: Predicting LWBS

    Julius Cuong Pham MD
    Abstract Objectives:, The objective was to estimate the national left-without-being-seen (LWBS) rate and to identify patient, visit, and institutional characteristics that predict LWBS. Methods:, This was a retrospective cross-sectional analysis using the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) from 1998 to 2006. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify predictors of LWBS. Results:, The national LWBS rate was 1.7 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.6 to 1.9) patients per 100 emergency department (ED) visits each year. In multivariate analysis, patients at extremes of age (<18 years, odds ratio [OR] = 0.80, 95% CI = 0.66 to 0.96; and ,65 years, OR = 0.46, 95% CI = 0.32 to 0.64) and nursing home residents (OR = 0.29, 95% CI = 0.08 to 1.00) were associated with lower LWBS rates. Nonwhites (black or African American (OR = 1.41, 95% CI = 1.22 to 1.63) and Hispanic (OR = 1.25, 95% CI = 1.04 to 1.49), Medicaid (OR = 1.47, 95% CI = 1.27 to 1.70), self-pay (OR = 1.96, 95% CI = 1.65 to 2.32), or other insurance (OR = 2.09, 95% CI = 1.74 to 2.52) patients were more likely to LWBS. Visit characteristics associated with LWBS included visits for musculoskeletal (OR = 0.70, 95% CI = 0.57 to 0.85), injury/poisoning/adverse event (OR = 0.65, 95% CI = 0.53 to 0.80), and miscellaneous (OR = 1.56, 95% CI = 1.19 to 2.05) complaints. Visits with low triage acuity were more likely to LWBS (OR = 3.59, 95% CI = 2.81 to 4.58), whereas visits that were work-related were less likely to LWBS (OR = 0.19, 95% CI = 0.12 to 0.29). Institutional characteristics associated with LWBS were visits in metropolitan areas (OR = 2.11, 95% CI = 1.66 to 2.70) and teaching institutions (OR = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.06 to 1.67). Conclusions:, Several patient, visit, and hospital characteristics are independently associated with LWBS. Prediction and benchmarking of LWBS rates should adjust for these factors. [source]

    Trends in Midlevel Provider Utilization in Emergency Departments from 1997 to 2006

    Michael D. Menchine MD
    Abstract Objectives:, The objective was to quantify the expansion of midlevel provider (MLP) practice in U.S. emergency departments (EDs) over the past decade. Specifically, we sought to quantify the absolute number of patients seen by MLPs, the annual growth rate of patients seen by MLPs, and the expansion in the proportion of EDs using MLPs. Methods:, Data were analyzed from the ED portion of the 10 most recent years (1997 to 2006) National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS), a nationally representative survey of ED visits compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The main outcomes of interest were the proportion and absolute numbers of ED patients seen by MLPs during the 10-year study period. National estimates derived from sample weights are reported. In addition, a multivariate logistic regression model was created with "seen by midlevel provider" as the dependent variable to determine factors associated with being seen by a MLP. Results:, Between 1997 and 2006, 8.23% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 7.31% to 9.15%) of ED patients were seen by a MLP. The proportion of ED patients seen by MLPs increased from 5.5% (95% CI = 3.8% to 7.1%) in 1997 to 12.7% (95% CI = 10.5% to 14.9%) in 2006 (13% annual growth). This corresponds to an increase in the number of ED patients seen by MLPs from 5.2 million in 1997 to 15.2 million in 2006. The proportion of hospitals using MLPs in the ED increased from 28.3% (95% CI = 22.4% to 34.1%) in 1997 to 77.2% (95% CI = 71.2% to 83.3%) in 2006 (17% annual growth). Slightly over half of MLP cases (54.9%; 95% CI = 49.1% to 60.7%) were also seen by staff physicians. On multivariate regression, younger patient age, non,southern geographic region, and triage acuity were associated with increased MLP use. Conclusions:, The number of ED patients seen by MLPs has increased sharply, from 5.2 million in 1997 (5.5% of all ED cases) to 15.2 million in 2006 (12.7% of all ED cases). Similarly, the proportion of EDs reporting use of MLPs has increased from 28.3% in 1997 to 77.2% in 2006. [source]

    Disconnect Between Charted Vestibular Diagnoses and Emergency Department Management Decisions: A Cross-sectional Analysis From a Nationally Representative Sample

    David E. Newman-Toker MD
    Abstract Objectives:, The most common vestibular disorders seen in the emergency department (ED) are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and acute peripheral vestibulopathy (APV; i.e., vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis). BPPV and APV are two very distinct disorders that have different clinical presentations that require different diagnostic and treatment strategies. BPPV can be diagnosed without imaging and is treated with canalith-repositioning maneuvers. APV sometimes requires neuroimaging by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to exclude posterior fossa stroke mimics and should be treated with vestibular sedatives and corticosteroids. We sought to determine if emergency physicians (EPs) apply best practices to diagnose and treat these common vestibular disorders. Methods:, This was a cross-sectional study of ED visits from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS). A weighted sample of U.S. ED visits (1993,2005) was used. Patients at least 16 years of age who were given a final ED diagnosis of BPPV (International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision [ICD-9], 386.11) or APV (ICD-9 386.12 or 386.3x) comprised the study population. The frequency of imaging and drug therapy in those diagnosed as BPPV or APV versus controls was the main outcome measure. Results:, A total of 9,472 dizzy patient visits were sampled over 13 years (weighted estimate 33.6 million U.S. ED visits over that period). A weighted estimate of 2.5 million patients (7.4%) were given a vestibular diagnosis, mostly BPPV (weighted 0.2 million) or APV (weighted 1.9 million). Patients given BPPV (19%) and APV (19%) diagnoses were more likely to undergo imaging (all by computed tomography [CT]) than controls (7%; p < 0.001). Patients given BPPV (58%) and APV (70%) diagnoses were more likely to receive meclizine than controls (0.1%; p < 0.001). Corticosteroid administration was rarely documented (2% BPPV, 1% APV). Conclusions:, Patients given a vestibular diagnosis in the ED may not be managed optimally. Patients given BPPV and APV diagnoses undergo imaging (predominantly CT) with equal frequency, suggesting overuse of CT (BPPV) and probably underuse of MRI (APV). Most patients diagnosed with BPPV are given meclizine, which is not indicated. Specific therapy for APV (corticosteroids) is probably underutilized. Educational initiatives and clinical guidelines merit consideration. [source]

    Racial and Sex Differences in Emergency Department Triage Assessment and Test Ordering for Chest Pain, 1997,2006

    Lenny López MD
    ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 2010; 17:801,808 © 2010 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Abstract Objectives:, This study assessed whether sociodemographic differences exist in triage assignment and whether these differences affect initial diagnostic testing in the emergency department (ED) for patients presenting with chest pain. Methods:,A nationally representative ED data sample for all adults (,18 years) was obtained from the National Hospital Ambulatory Health Care Survey of EDs for 1997,2006. Weighted logistic regression was used to examine the associations between race and presenting symptom, triage assignment, and test ordering, adjusting for patient and hospital characteristics. Results:, Over 10 years, an estimated 78 million visits to the ED presented with a complaint of chest pain. Of those presenting with chest pain, African Americans (odds ratio [OR] = 0.70; 99% confidence interval [CI] = 0.53 to 0.92), Hispanics (OR = 0.74; 99% CI = 0.51to 0.99), Medicaid patients (OR = 0.72; 99% CI = 0.54 to 0.94), and uninsured patients (OR = 0.65; 99% CI = 0.51 to 0.84) were less likely to be triaged emergently. African Americans (OR = 0.86; 99% CI = 0.70 to 0.99), Medicaid patients (OR = 0.70; 99% CI = 0.55 to 0.88), and uninsured patients (OR = 0.70; 99% CI = 0.55 to 0.89) were less likely to have an electrocardiogram (ECG) ordered. African Americans (OR = 0.69; 99% CI = 0.49 to 0.97), Medicaid patients (OR = 0.67; 99% CI = 0.47 to 0.95), and uninsured patients (OR = 0.66; 99% CI = 0.44 to 0.96) were less likely to have cardiac enzymes ordered. Similarly, African Americans and Hispanics were less likely to have a cardiac monitor and pulse oximetry ordered, and Medicaid and uninsured patients were less likely to have a cardiac monitor ordered. Conclusions:, Persistent racial, sex, and insurance differences in triage categorization and basic cardiac testing exist. Eliminating triage disparities may affect "downstream" clinical care and help eliminate observed disparities in cardiac outcomes. [source]

    Increasing Length of Stay Among Adult Visits to U.S. Emergency Departments, 2001,2005

    Andrew Herring MD
    Abstract Background:, Emergency departments (EDs) are traditionally designed to provide rapid evaluation and stabilization and are neither staffed nor equipped to provide prolonged care. Longer ED length of stay (LOS) may compromise quality of care and contribute to delays in the emergency evaluation of other patients. Objectives:, The objective was to determine whether ED LOS increased between 2001 and 2005 and whether trends varied by patient and hospital factors. Methods:, This was a retrospective analysis of a nationally representative sample of 138,569 adult ED visits from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS), 2001 to 2005. ED LOS was measured from registration to discharge. Results:, Median ED LOS increased 3.5% per year from 132 minutes in 2001 to 154 minutes in 2005 (p-value for trend < 0.001). There was a larger increase among critically ill patients for whom ED LOS increased 7.0% annually from 185 minutes in 2001 to 254 minutes in 2005 (p-value for trend < 0.01). ED LOS was persistently longer for black/African American, non-Hispanic patients (10.6% longer) and Hispanic patients (13.9% longer) than for non-Hispanic white patients, and these differences did not diminish over time. Among factors potentially associated with increasing ED LOS, a large increase was found (60.1%, p-value for trend < 0.001) in the use of advanced diagnostic imaging (computed tomography [CT], magnetic resonance imaging [MR], and ultrasound [US]) and in the proportion of ED visits at which five or more diagnostic or screening tests were ordered (17.6% increase, p-value for trend = 0.001). The proportion of uninsured patients was stable throughout the study period, and EDs with predominately privately insured patients experienced significant increases in ED LOS (4.0% per year from 2001 to 2005, p-value for trend < 0.01). Conclusions:, Emergency department LOS in the United States is increasing, especially for critically ill patients for whom time-sensitive interventions are most important. The disparity of longer ED LOS for African Americans and Hispanics is not improving. [source]

    Racial Disparities in Emergency Department Length of Stay for Admitted Patients in the United States

    Jesse M. Pines MD
    Abstract Objectives:, Recent studies have demonstrated the adverse effects of prolonged emergency department (ED) boarding times on outcomes. The authors sought to examine racial disparities across U.S. hospitals in ED length of stay (LOS) for admitted patients, which may serve as a proxy for boarding time in data sets where the actual time of admission is unavailable. Specifically, the study estimated both the within- and among-hospital effects of black versus non,black race on LOS for admitted patients. Methods:, The authors studied 14,516 intensive care unit (ICU) and non-ICU admissions in 408 EDs in the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS; 2003,2005). The main outcomes were ED LOS (triage to transfer to inpatient bed) and proportion of patients with prolonged LOS (>6 hours). The effects of black versus non,black race on LOS were decomposed to distinguish racial disparities between patients at the same hospital (within-hospital component) and between hospitals that serve higher proportions of black patients (among-hospital component). Results:, In the unadjusted analyses, ED LOS was significantly longer for black patients admitted to ICU beds (367 minutes vs. 290 minutes) and non-ICU beds (397 minutes vs. 345 minutes). For admissions to ICU beds, the within-hospital estimates suggested that blacks were at higher risk for ED LOS of >6 hours (odds ratio [OR] = 1.42, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.01 to 2.01), while the among-hospital differences were not significant (OR = 1.08 for each 10% increase in the proportion of black patients, 95% CI = 0.96 to 1.23). By contrast, for non-ICU admissions, the within-hospital racial disparities were not significant (OR = 1.12, 95% CI = 0.94 to 1.23), but the among-hospital differences were significant (OR = 1.13, 95% CI = 1.04 to 1.22) per 10% point increase in the percentage of blacks admitted to a hospital. Conclusions:, Black patients who are admitted to the hospital through the ED have longer ED LOS compared to non,blacks, indicating that racial disparities may exist across U.S. hospitals. The disparity for non-ICU patients might be accounted for by among-hospital differences, where hospitals with a higher proportion of blacks have longer waits. The disparity for ICU patients is better explained by within-hospital differences, where blacks have longer wait times than non,blacks in the same hospital. However, there may be additional unmeasured clinical or socioeconomic factors that explain these results. [source]

    North Carolina Disease Event Tracking and Epidemiologic Collection Tool (NC DETECT) and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS): Comparison of Emergency Department Data

    Anne M. Hakenewerth MS
    Abstract The North Carolina Disease Event Tracking and Epidemiologic Collection Tool (NC DETECT) is a near-real-time database of emergency department (ED) visits automatically extracted from hospital information system(s) in the state of North Carolina. The National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) is a retrospective probability sample survey of visits to U.S. hospital EDs. This report compares data from NC DETECT (2006) with NHAMCS (2005) ED visit data to determine if the two data sets are consistent. Proportions, rates, and confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated for ED visits by age and gender; arrival method and age; expected source of payment; disposition; hospital admissions; NHAMCS top 20 diagnosis groups and top five primary diagnoses by age group; International Classifications of Disease, 9th revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) primary diagnosis codes; and cause of injury. North Carolina DETECT captured 79% of statewide ED visits. Twenty-eight persons for every 100 North Carolina residents visited a North Carolina ED that reports to NC DETECT at least once in 2006, compared to 20% nationally. Twenty-seven percent of ED visits in North Carolina had private insurance as the expected payment source, compared with 40% nationwide. The proportion of injury-related ED visits in North Carolina is 25%, compared to 36.4% nationally. Rates and proportions of disease groups are similar. Similarity of NC DETECT rates and proportions to NHAMCS provides support for the face and content validity of NC DETECT. The development of statewide near-real-time ED databases is an important step toward the collection, aggregation, and analysis of timely, population-based data by state, to better define the burden of illness and injury for vulnerable populations. [source]

    Neuroimaging for Pediatric Head Trauma: Do Patient and Hospital Characteristics Influence Who Gets Imaged?

    Rebekah Mannix MD
    ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 2010; 17:694,700 © 2010 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Abstract Objectives:, The objective was to identify patient, provider, and hospital characteristics associated with the use of neuroimaging in the evaluation of head trauma in children. Methods:, This was a cross-sectional study of children (,19 years of age) with head injuries from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) collected by the National Center for Health Statistics. NHAMCS collects data on approximately 25,000 visits annually to 600 randomly selected hospital emergency and outpatient departments. This study examined visits to U.S. emergency departments (EDs) between 2002 and 2006. Multivariable logistic regression was used to analyze characteristics associated with neuroimaging in children with head injuries. Results:, There were 50,835 pediatric visits in the 5-year sample, of which 1,256 (2.5%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.2% to 2.7%) were for head injury. Among these, 39% (95% CI = 34% to 43%) underwent evaluation with neuroimaging. In multivariable analyses, factors associated with neuroimaging included white race (odds ratio [OR] = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.02 to 2.1), older age (OR = 1.3, 95% CI = 1.1 to 1.5), presentation to a general hospital (vs. a pediatric hospital, OR = 2.4, 95% CI = 1.1 to 5.3), more emergent triage status (OR = 1.4, 95% CI = 1.1 to 1.8), admission or transfer (OR = 2.7, 95% CI = 1.4 to 5.3), and treatment by an attending physician (OR = 2.0, 95% CI = 1.1 to 3.7). The effect of race was mitigated at the pediatric hospitals compared to at the general hospitals (p < 0.001). Conclusions:, In this study, patient race, age, and hospital-specific characteristics were associated with the frequency of neuroimaging in the evaluation of children with closed head injuries. Based on these results, focusing quality improvement initiatives on physicians at general hospitals may be an effective approach to decreasing rates of neuroimaging after pediatric head trauma. [source]

    Measuring Quality of Care in Syncope: Case Definition Affects Reported Electrocardiogram Use but Does Not Bias Reporting

    Jeremiah D. Schuur MD
    Abstract Objectives:, The objective was to calculate agreement between syncope as a reason for visiting (RFV) an emergency department (ED) and as a discharge diagnosis (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification [ICD-9]), to determine whether syncope case definition biases reported electrocardiogram (ECG) usage, a national quality measure. Methods:, The authors analyzed the ED portion of the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS), 1993,2004, for patients age ,18 years. A visit was defined as being for syncope if it received one of three RFV or ICD-9 codes. Agreement between RFV and ICD-9 codes was calculated, and the percentages of syncope patients (RFV vs. ICD-9) who had an ECG were compared using chi-square and multivariate logistic regression. Results:, Raw agreement between syncope as an RFV and as an ICD-9 diagnosis code was 30.1% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 32.6% to 35.5%), representing only moderate agreement beyond chance (, = 0.50). ECG utilization was lower among visits defined by RFV (64.1%; 95% CI = 62.0% to 66.3%) than for ICD-9 diagnosis (73.6%; 95% CI = 71.4% to 75.8%). There was no meaningful variation in adjusted ECG use by patient, visit, or hospital characteristics between case definitions. Adjusted ECG use was lower under both case definitions among female patients and discharged patients and increased with age (p < 0.05). Conclusions:, Despite only moderate agreement, syncope case definition should not bias reported ECG rate by patient, visit, or hospital characteristics. Among ED patients with syncope, ECG is performed less frequently in women, a potentially important disparity. [source]

    National Study of Emergency Department Visits for Acute Exacerbation of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, 1993,2005

    Chu-Lin Tsai MD
    Abstract Objectives:, Little is known about recent trends in U.S. emergency department (ED) visits for acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD) or about ED management of AECOPD. This study aimed to describe the epidemiology of ED visits for AECOPD and to evaluate concordance with guideline-recommended care. Methods:, Data were obtained from National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS). ED visits for AECOPD, during 1993 to 2005, were identified using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) codes. Concordance with guideline recommendations was evaluated using process measures. Results:, Over the 13-year study period, there was an average annual 0.6 million ED visits for AECOPD, and the visit rates for AECOPD were consistently high (3.2 per 1,000 U.S. population; Ptrend = 0.13). The trends in the use of chest radiograph, pulse oximetry, or bronchodilator remained stable (all Ptrend > 0.5). By contrast, the use of systemic corticosteroids increased from 29% in 1993,1994 to 60% in 2005, antibiotics increased from 14% to 42%, and methylxanthines decreased from 15% to <1% (all Ptrend < 0.001). Multivariable analysis showed patients in the South (vs. the Northeast) were less likely to receive systemic corticosteroids (odds ratio [OR] = 0.6; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.4 to 0.9). Conclusions:, The high burden of ED visits for AECOPD persisted. Overall concordance with guideline-recommended care for AECOPD was moderate, and some emergency treatments had improved over time. [source]

    Medical visits among adults with symptoms commonly associated with an overactive bladder

    BJU INTERNATIONAL, Issue 3 2006
    OBJECTIVES To examine nationally representative data and thus obtain estimates of the use of healthcare providers associated with the overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms, a condition characterized by frequency, urgency and nocturia, with or with no urge incontinence, as although it is ranked among the 10 most common chronic medical conditions in the USA, the level of OAB-associated medical treatment remains largely unknown. METHODS To estimate the number of annual OAB-associated medical visits among patients aged ,18 years, three national databases in the USA (year 2000) were examined: the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, and the National Hospital Discharge Survey. Population estimates were constructed using design-based statistical analyses to account for the complex survey designs of data. RESULTS During 2000, adult Americans made 1.4 million (95% confidence interval 1.1,1.8 million) ambulatory visits to non-Federal office-based physicians with International Classification of Disease (ICD-9) coding indicative of OAB symptoms. Accounting for emergency and outpatient department visits, as well as non-Federal short-stay hospital discharges, the estimated number of medical visits with OAB-associated ICD-9 coding was <1.5 million. CONCLUSION The prevalence of OAB was estimated to be 34 million adult Americans. When 1.4 million ambulatory visits were compared with this prevalence, as few as 4% of adult Americans with OAB sought medical treatment during the year 2000. The present results therefore suggest a large unmet medical need among the population of adult Americans with OAB. [source]

    Inappropriate Use of Antibiotics for Acute Asthma in United States Emergency Departments

    Stefan G. Vanderweil BA
    Abstract Objectives:, The aim was to examine the use of antibiotics to treat asthma patients in U.S. emergency departments (EDs). The authors sought to investigate inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions by identifying the frequency and predictors of antibiotics prescribed for asthma exacerbations using data from two sources, the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) and the National Emergency Department Safety Study (NEDSS). Methods:, The authors used data from NHAMCS and NEDSS to identify the proportion of ED visits for asthma exacerbations that resulted in the prescription of an antibiotic. NHAMCS provided national data from 1993 through 2004, while NEDSS provided data from 63 primarily academic EDs from 2003 through 2006. Univariate analysis and multivariate logistic regression modeling were used to identify variables associated with antibiotic administration. Results:, Analysis of NHAMCS data revealed that 22% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 20% to 24%) of acute asthma visits resulted in an antibiotic prescription from 1993 through 2004, with no significant change in prescribing frequency over the 12-year period. NEDSS data from 2003 through 2006 showed that 18% (95% CI = 17% to 19%) of acute asthma cases in academic EDs received an antibiotic. Multivariate modeling of NHAMCS data revealed that African American patients (odds ratio [OR] = 0.8; 95% CI = 0.6 to 0.97) and patients in urban EDs (OR = 0.5; 95% CI = 0.4 to 0.7) were less likely to receive antibiotics for asthma exacerbations than white patients and patients in nonurban EDs, respectively. NHAMCS analysis also found that patients in the South were more likely to receive antibiotics than those in the Northeast (OR = 1.4; 95% CI = 1.1 to 1.9). A NEDSS multivariate model found a similar difference, with African Americans (OR = 0.6; 95% CI = 0.4 to 0.8) and Hispanics (OR = 0.6; 95% CI = 0.4 to 0.8) being less likely than whites to receive an antibiotic. Conclusions:, ED treatment of acute asthma with unnecessary antibiotics is likely to contribute to bacterial antibiotic resistance. Interventions are needed to reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions and to address disparities in asthma care. [source]

    Dizziness Presentations in U.S. Emergency Departments, 1995,2004

    Kevin A. Kerber MD
    Abstract Objectives:, The objectives were to describe presentation characteristics and health care utilization information pertaining to dizziness presentations in U.S. emergency departments (EDs) from 1995 through 2004. Methods:, From the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS), patient visits to EDs for "vertigo-dizziness" were identified. Sample data were weighted to produce nationally representative estimates. Patient characteristics, diagnoses, and health care utilization information were obtained. Trends over time were assessed using weighted least squares regression analysis. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to control for the influence of age on the probability of a vertigo-dizziness visit during the study time period. Results:, Vertigo-dizziness presentations accounted for 2.5% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.4% to 2.6%) of all ED presentations during this 10-year period. From 1995 to 2004, the rate of visits for vertigo-dizziness increased by 37% and demonstrated a significant linear trend (p < 0.001). Even after adjusting for age (and other covariates), every increase in year was associated with increased odds of a vertigo-dizziness visit. At each visit, a median of 3.6 diagnostic or screening tests (95% CI = 3.2 to 4.1) were performed. Utilization of many tests increased over time (p < 0.01). The utilization of computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging (CT/MRI) increased 169% from 1995 to 2004, which was more than any other test. The rate of central nervous system diagnoses (e.g., cerebrovascular disease or brain tumor) did not increase over time. Conclusions:, In terms of number of visits and important utilization measures, the impact of dizziness presentations on EDs is substantial and increasing. CT/MRI utilization rates have increased more than any other test. [source]

    National Trends in Emergency Department Antibiotic Prescribing for Children with Acute Otitis Media, 1996,2005

    Thomas Fischer MD
    Objectives Withholding antibiotics in nontoxic children with acute otitis media (AOM) is now recommended to reduce bacterial resistance rates. Using the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS), the authors describe the national trends for prescribing antibiotics in children with AOM presenting to emergency departments (EDs) in the United States over the past decade. The authors hypothesized that the rates of prescribing antibiotics would decline over time. Methods This was a retrospective study of NHAMCS databases. A national sampling of ED visits for 1996,2005 was used to identify trends in ED prescription of antibiotics to patients with AOM. The National Drug Code Directory Drug Classes were used to identify type of antibiotic prescribed. Frequency and type of antibiotic prescription patterns over time were evaluated. Results There were 2.6 million and 2.1 million ED visits for AOM during the first and last years of the study. Children ages 2,12 years accounted for about 40% of all ED visits for AOM, with another 40% in the younger than 2 years age group and 20% in the older than 12 years of age group. During the first and last year of the study, 79.2% and 91.3% of the patients with AOM were prescribed antibiotics, respectively. There was a slight increasing trend in the proportion prescribed antibiotics over time (p = 0.02). The rates of use of antibiotics for AOM were similar in all three age groups. Conclusions There was a slight increase in the percentage of children with AOM who were prescribed antibiotics in the ED between 1996 and 2005. There was also no change in the patterns of prescribing antibiotics. [source]

    U.S. Emergency Department Visits for Supraventricular Tachycardia, 1993,2003

    David H. Murman BS
    Background:Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is often described as a recurrent condition that leads to emergency department (ED) visits. However, the epidemiology of ED visits for SVT is unknown. Objectives:To define the frequency of SVT in U.S. EDs and to analyze patient characteristics, ED management, and disposition for such visits. Methods:The authors analyzed data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, 1993,2003. SVT cases were identified by using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification codes 426.7 or 427.0 in any of the three diagnostic fields. Results:Of the 1.1 billion ED visits over the 11-year study period, an estimated 555,000 (0.05%; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.04% to 0.06%) were related to SVT. The annual frequency and population rate appear stable between 1993 and 2003 (p for trend = 0.35). Compared with non-SVT visits, those with SVT were more likely to be older than 65 years of age (26% vs. 15%, p < 0.01) and female (70% vs. 53%, p < 0.01). Electrocardiograms were documented for most visits (91%; 95% CI = 85% to 96%). Approximately half of the patients (51%; 95% CI = 40% to 61%) received an atrioventricular nodal blocking medication, most frequently adenosine (26%; 95% CI = 17% to 36%). SVT visits ended in hospital admission for 24% (95% CI = 15% to 34%). At the other extreme, 44% (95% CI = 32% to 56%) were discharged without planned follow-up. Conclusions:Supraventricular tachycardia accounts for approximately 50,000 ED visits each year. Higher visit rates in older adults and female patients are consistent with prior studies of SVT in the general population. This study provides an epidemiologic foundation that will enable future research to assess and improve clinical management strategies of SVT in the ED. [source]

    Emergency Department Utilization in the United States and Ontario, Canada

    DrPH, Guohua Li MD
    Objectives:The current crisis in the emergency care system is characterized by worsening emergency department (ED) overcrowding. Lack of health insurance is widely perceived to be a major contributing factor to ED overcrowding in the United States. This study aimed to compare ED visit rates in the United States and Ontario, Canada, according to demographic and clinical characteristics. Methods:This was a cross sectional study consisting of a nationally representative sample of 40,253 ED visits included in the 2003 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey in the United States, and all ED visits recorded during 2003 by the National Ambulatory Care Reporting System in Ontario, Canada. The main outcome was the number of ED visits per 100 population per year. Results:The annual ED visit rate in the United States was 39.9 visits (95% confidence interval = 37.2 to 42.6) per 100 population, virtually identical to the rate in Ontario, Canada (39.7 visits per 100 population). In both the United States and Ontario, Canada, those aged 75 years and older had the highest ED visit rate and women had a slightly higher ED visit rate than men. The most common discharge diagnosis was injury/poisoning, accounting for 25.6% of all ED visits in the United States and 24.7% in Ontario, Canada. Overall, 13.9% of ED patients in the United States were admitted to hospitals, compared with 10.5% in Ontario, Canada. Conclusions:ED visit rates and patterns are similar in the United States and Ontario, Canada. Differences in health insurance coverage may not have a substantial impact on the overall utilization of emergency care. [source]

    The Epidemiology of Emergency Medical Services Use by Older Adults: An Analysis of the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey

    Manish N. Shah MD
    ObjectivesTo characterize older adult emergency department (ED) visits arriving by emergency medical services (EMS) and to identify factors associated with those patient visits. MethodsA secondary analysis of the ED component of the 1997,2000 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey using logistic regression analyses was conducted. The dependent variable was the modes of arrival (EMS vs. not EMS) to the ED. Independent variables were grouped into four domains: demographic, clinical, system, and service characteristics. ResultsBetween 1997 and 2000, 38% of EMS responses were for patients aged 65 years and older. During that period, 62.2 million older adult ED patient visits occurred; 38% arrived via EMS. The average rate of EMS utilization by older adults was 167/1,000 population per year, more than four times the rate for younger patients (39/1,000 population). Fifty-three percent of EMS responses with transport to an ED for older adults resulted in hospital admission. Factors found to be associated with EMS mode of arrival included demographic (older age and urban residence), clinical (need for more rapid care and circulatory system illnesses), and service (need for procedures). ConclusionsOlder adults account for a large proportion of EMS responses and use EMS at a disproportionately high rate. As the older adult population grows, EMS systems must prepare for the increased volume of older adults by making changes in training, operations, and equipment. [source]