Frequent Use of Emergency Departments in Saudi Public Hospitals: Implications for Primary Health Care Services.

Department of Public Administration, College of Business Administration, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 1.11). 12/2011; DOI: 10.1177/1010539511431603
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study aims to determine the prevalence, factors and reasons associated with the frequent use of public emergency departments (EDs) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The study employed a self-administered questionnaire to collect data from adult patients on aspects such as demographic characteristics, accessibility, and health-related factors. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to explore the issue. The results indicated that about 30% of respondents were considered as "frequent users" of the EDs. Males, older patients, those living closer to EDs, and patients who had chronic illnesses or were hospitalized in the past year were more likely to use EDs frequently. Moreover, the study found that patients who were labeled as "frequent users" of the EDs were also frequent users of "other" health care facilities. Health decision makers should facilitate primary health centers with necessary resources that fulfill the patients' health needs and reduce the burden on EDs.