Is Emergency Department Crowding Associated With Increased "Bounceback" Admissions?
ABSTRACT Emergency department (ED) crowding is linked with poor quality of care and worse outcomes, including higher mortality. With the growing emphasis on hospital performance measures, there is additional concern whether inadequate care during crowded periods increases a patient's likelihood of subsequent inpatient admission. We sought to determine if ED crowding during the index visit was associated with these "bounceback" admissions.
We used comprehensive, nonpublic, statewide ED and inpatient discharge data from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development from 2007 to identify index outpatient ED visits and bounceback admissions within 7 days. We further used ambulance diversion data collected from California local emergency medical services agencies to identify crowded days using intrahospital daily diversion hour quartiles. Using a hierarchical logistic regression model, we then determined if patients visiting on crowded days were more likely to have a subsequent bounceback admission.
We analyzed 3,368,527 index visits across 202 hospitals, of which 596,471 (17.7%) observations were on crowded days. We found no association between ED crowding and bounceback admissions. This lack of relationship persisted in both a discrete (high/low) model (OR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.99, 1.02) and a secondary model using ambulance diversion hours as a continuous predictor (OR, 1.00; 95% CI, 1.00, 1.00).
Crowding as measured by ambulance diversion does not have an association with hospitalization within 7 days of an ED visit discharge. Therefore, bounceback admission may be a poor measure of delayed or worsened quality of care due to crowding.
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ABSTRACT: A persistent problem for emergency physicians is the patient who returns unscheduled to the emergency department with a problem that either has not improved or has worsened. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the frequency of revisits and the nature of the problems. All patients returning within 72 hours of their initial visit were entered into the study. The charts were evaluated for classification of problem, unavoidable v avoidable returns, and errors in medical care or patient education. Of the 64,336 patients seen during the study, 255 returned within 72 hours. Eighty-three (32.5%) of the returns were found to be avoidable with better patient education or medical care on the initial visit. The revisit population is a high-risk group of patients who should be approached carefully by emergency physicians.Journal of Emergency Medicine 09/1987; 5(5):359-62. DOI:10.1016/0736-4679(87)90138-7 · 1.18 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Ambulance diversion, a practice in which emergency departments (EDs) are temporarily closed to ambulance traffic, might be problematic for patients experiencing time-sensitive conditions, such as acute myocardial infarction (AMI). However, there is little empirical evidence to show whether diversion is associated with worse patient outcomes. To analyze whether temporary ED closure on the day a patient experiences AMI, as measured by ambulance diversion hours of the nearest ED, is associated with increased mortality rates among patients with AMI. DESIGN, STUDY, AND PARTICIPANTS: A case-crossover design of 13,860 Medicare patients with AMI from 508 zip codes within 4 California counties (Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara) whose admission date was between 2000 and 2005. Data included 100% Medicare claims data that covered admissions between 2000 and 2005, linked with date of death until 2006, and daily ambulance diversion logs from the same 4 counties. Among the hospital universe, 149 EDs were identified as the nearest ED to these patients. The percentage of patients with AMI who died within 7 days, 30 days, 90 days, 9 months, and 1 year from admission (when their nearest ED was not on diversion and when that same ED was exposed to <6, 6 to <12, and ≥12 hours of diversion out of 24 hours on the day of admission). Between 2000 and 2006, the mean (SD) daily diversion duration was 7.9 (6.1) hours. Based on analysis of 11,625 patients admitted to the ED between 2000 and 2005, and whose nearest ED had at least 3 diversion exposure levels (3541, 3357, 2667, and 2060 patients for no exposure, exposure to <6, 6 to <12, and ≥12 hours of diversion, respectively), there were no statistically significant differences in mortality rates between no diversion and exposure to less than 12 hours of diversion. Exposure to 12 or more hours of diversion was associated with higher 30-day mortality vs no diversion status (unadjusted mortality rate, 392 patients [19%] vs 545 patients [15%]; regression adjusted difference, 3.24 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.60-5.88); higher 90-day mortality (537 patients [26%] vs 762 patients [22%]; 2.89 percentage points; 95% CI, 0.13-5.64); higher 9-month mortality (680 patients [33%] vs 980 patients [28%]; 2.93 percentage points; 95% CI, 0.15-5.71); and higher 1-year mortality (731 patients [35%] vs 1034 patients [29%]; 3.04 percentage points; 95% CI, 0.33-5.75). Among Medicare patients with AMI in 4 populous California counties, exposure to at least 12 hours of diversion by the nearest ED was associated with increased 30-day, 90-day, 9-month, and 1-year mortality.JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 06/2011; 305(23):2440-7. DOI:10.1001/jama.2011.811 · 30.39 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To determine whether patients who sought care at a public hospital emergency department and left without being seen by a physician needed immediate medical attention and whether they obtained care after leaving. Follow-up study of patients who left without being seen and of patients who waited to be seen by a physician. A public hospital's emergency department in Torrance, Calif. All patients who registered for care and left without being seen (n = 186) and a 20% random sample of patients who waited until they were seen (n = 211) in a 2-week period during spring 1990. At time of presentation: triage nurse urgency assessment, clinical acuity rating, and self-reported health status. At follow-up: hospitalization rates. Patients who left reported that they had waited 6.4 hours before leaving; those who stayed reported a 6.2-hour wait before being seen. There were no differences between those who left and those who stayed in chief complaint, triage nurse assessment, acuity ratings, or self-reported health status. Forty-six percent of those who left were judged to need immediate medical attention, and 29% needed care within 24 to 48 hours. Eleven percent of those who left were hospitalized within the next week, and three patients required emergency surgery. Nine percent of those who waited to be seen were hospitalized. Forty-nine percent of patients who left did not see a physician during the 1-week follow-up period. Overcrowding in this public hospital's emergency department restricts access to needed ambulatory medical care for the poor and uninsured.JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 09/1991; 266(8):1085-90. DOI:10.1001/jama.266.8.1085 · 30.39 Impact Factor