Access to Emergency Operative Care: A Comparative Study between the Canadian and American Health Care Systems

Department of Surgery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Surgery (Impact Factor: 3.38). 09/2009; 146(2):300-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.surg.2009.04.005
Source: PubMed


Canada provides universal health insurance to all citizens, whereas 47 million Americans are uninsured. There has not been a study comparing access to emergency operative care between the 2 countries. As both countries contemplate changes in health care delivery, such comparisons are needed to guide health policy decisions. The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not there is a difference in access to emergency operative care between Canada and the United States.
All patients diagnosed with acute appendicitis from 2001 to 2005 were identified in the Canadian Institute for Health Information database and the US Nationwide Inpatient Sample. Severity of appendicitis was determined by ICD-9 codes. Patients were further characterized by age, gender, insurance status, race, and socioeconomic status (SES; income). Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to determine the odds of appendiceal perforation at different levels of SES in each country.
There were 102,692 Canadian patients and 276,890 American patients with acute appendicitis. In Canada, there was no difference in the odds of perforation between income levels. In the United States, there was a significant, inverse relationship between income level and the odds of perforation. The odds of perforation in the lowest income quartile were significantly higher than the odds of perforation in the highest income bracket (odds ratio, 1.20; 95% confidence interval, 1.16-1.24).
The results suggest that access to emergency operative care is related to SES in the United States, but not in Canada. This difference could result from the concern over the ability to pay medical bills or the lack of a stable relationship with a primary care provider that can occur outside of a universal health care system.

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    • "Emergency department consultation for evaluation of patients with acute appendicitis may be related to the socioeconomic status of the patient. In the USA, waiting time for consultation in the emergency department to evaluate patients with acute appendicitis is longer for those in a lower socioeconomic bracket [10,11]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Appendicitis is one of the most common surgical emergencies and is also a time-sensitive condition. Delays in treatment increase the risk of appendiceal perforation (AP), and thus AP rates have been used as a proxy to measure access to surgical care. It is very well known that in Brazil there are big differences between the public and private healthcare systems. Those differences can reflect in the treatment of what are considered simple cases, like appendicitis. As far as we know, it has no known links to behavioral or social risk factors, and has only one treatment option -- appendectomy. The purpose of this study was to compare treatment received by Brazilian people, both by those who depend on the public and private healthcare system, and how it affects their outcome. Data was collected from the records of all patients submitted to appendectomy, in a public and in a private Sao Paulo city's hospitals, during January to April of 2010. Patients admitted by the public hospital present symptoms for a longer period of time than those treated by the private one. It took a significantly higher amount of time for the patients from the public hospital undergo surgery, and their length of stay is also significantly higher. Appendicitis in a public scenario is associated with increased time from onset of symptoms to operative intervention and the main reason is the delayed presentation. Clinical polices for abdominal pain should be instituted by the public healthcare system, based on population education, healthcare professionals training and establishment of strategies that can speed the diagnosis process up.
    BMC Emergency Medicine 07/2013; 13(1):15. DOI:10.1186/1471-227X-13-15
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    • "Several systematic differences between the Boston study [10] and ours should be noted. Delays to ED presentation may be greater among a US population than a Canadian one, for whom accessibility and universality of hospital ED care reduces the potential for individuals of lower socioeconomic levels to postpone seeking medical treatment, as they do in the US [18]. Secondly, in the Boston study an onset time estimation method used a 6-hour time window when the onset time could not be given within a 15-minute time window; thus, onset date data was known or estimated for nearly 100% of patients. "
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    ABSTRACT: Case-crossover studies used to investigate associations between an environmental exposure and an acute health response, such as stroke, will often use the day an individual presents to an emergency department (ED) or is admitted to hospital to infer when the stroke occurred. Similarly, they will use patient's place of residence to assign exposure. The validity of using these two data elements, typically extracted from administrative databases or patient charts, to define the time of stroke onset and to assign exposure are critical in this field of research as air pollutant concentrations are temporally and spatially variable. Our a priori hypotheses were that date of presentation differs from the date of stroke onset for a substantial number of patients, and that assigning exposure to ambient pollution using place of residence introduces an important source of exposure measurement error. The objective of this study was to improve our understanding on how these sources of errors influence risk estimates derived using a case-crossover study design. We sought to collect survey data from stroke patients presenting to hospital EDs in Edmonton, Canada on the date, time, location and nature of activities at onset of stroke symptoms. The daily mean ambient concentrations of NO₂ and PM(2.5) on the self-reported day of stroke onset was estimated from continuous fixed-site monitoring stations. Of the 336 participating patients, 241 were able to recall when their stroke started and 72.6% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 66.9-78.3%) experienced stroke onset the same day they presented to the ED. For subjects whose day of stroke onset differed from the day of presentation to the ED, this difference ranged from 1 to 12 days (mean = 1.8; median = 1). In these subjects, there were no systematic differences in assigned pollution levels for either NO₂ or PM(2.5) when day of presentation rather than day of stroke onset was used. At the time of stroke onset, 89.9% (95% CI: 86.6-93.1%) reported that they were inside, while 84.5% (95% CI: 80.6 - 88.4%) reported that for most of the day they were within a 15 minute drive from home. We estimated that due to the mis-specification of the day of stroke onset, the risk of hospitalization for stroke would be understated by 15% and 20%, for NO₂ and PM(2.5), respectively. Our data suggest that day of presentation and residential location data obtained from administrative records reasonably captures the time and location of stroke onset for most patients. Under these conditions, any associated errors are unlikely to be an important source of bias when estimating air pollution risks in this population.
    Environmental Health 10/2011; 10(1):87. DOI:10.1186/1476-069X-10-87 · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study is to compare data of patients submitted to appendectomy for acute appendicitis at a public hospital and at a private hospital. A total of 200 medical records of patients submitted to appendectomy for acute appendicitis at a public hospital (n=100) and at a private hospital (n=100), was reviewed retrospectively. Mean age and gender distribution were similar for patients of both hospitals. More patients had been previously evaluated by other physicians in the group of the public hospital (n=85) than of the private hospital (n=13) (p< 0.0001). Ultrasonography was performed more frequently on patients of the public hospital (n=56) than of the private hospital (n=30) (p=0.0002). Length of hospital stay was longer at the public hospital (3.5 ± 2.8 days) than at the private hospital (2.5 ± 1.7 days) (p=0.0024). Postoperative complications were more frequent at the public hospital (n=36) than at the private hospital (n=20) (p<0.0117). Time to resume routine activities was longer for the public hospital (33.2 ± 8.3 days) than for the private hospital (16.4 ± 5.2 days) (p<0.0001). Multivariate logistic-regression analysis showed that the estimated probability of complicated appendicitis increased with the time interval between onset of symptoms and appendectomy (p<0.001). Independent risk factor associated with complicated appendicitis was the time interval between onset of symptoms and appendectomy (odds ratio 41.65, 95% CI {confidence interval} 2.90-597.49, p<0.0001) at the public hospital. There was no independent risk factor associated with complicated appendicitis at the private hospital. There are important differences between public and private hospitals in the diagnosis and outcomes of patients with acute appendicitis submitted to appendectomy.
    Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira 12/2009; 56(5):522-7. DOI:10.1590/S0104-42302010000500011 · 0.93 Impact Factor
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