Most unscheduled hospital admissions now come through the ER

June 20, 2013

More than three-quarters (81.8 percent) of unscheduled admissions to the hospital now come through the emergency department, which is a sharp increase from the previous decade when only 64.5 percent of unscheduled admissions came through the ER. A study, published early online this week in the journal Medical Care, re-confirms recent findings by the RAND Corporation highlighting the growing role emergency physicians play in health care beyond the emergency department ("Changes in the Source of Unscheduled Hospitalizations in the United States").

"Although generally sicker, patients admitted to the hospital from the emergency department had lower mortality and shorter hospital stays than patients admitted directly from the community," said lead study author Keith Kocher, MD, MPH, of the Department of at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. "The ER was the source of admission for a wide variety of clinical conditions, from medical and surgical disease to . It was also the source of admission for more vulnerable populations like the elderly, minorities and the uninsured."

Dr. Kocher and his team compared over a 10-year period, from 2000 through 2009, using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample. Admissions through the emergency department increased substantially at the expense of direct admissions from clinics or doctors' offices which declined from 31 percent to 14 percent of unscheduled admissions.

"Our study and the RAND study demonstrate that the emergency department has become the major portal for unscheduled hospitalizations," said Dr. Kocher. "Administrators and policy makers would be advised to focus their attention on physicians and caregivers in the who make more and more of these decisions to admit. As acute care management continues to evolve away from primary care providers, this trend also has the potential to exacerbate an already fragmented U.S. ."

Explore further: Hospital emergency departments gaining in importance, study finds

Related Stories

Hospital emergency departments gaining in importance, study finds

May 20, 2013
Hospital emergency departments play a growing role in the U.S. health care system, accounting for a rising proportion of hospital admissions and serving increasingly as an advanced diagnostic center for primary care physicians, ...

Office-based physicians making more patient referrals to ER

June 6, 2013
(HealthDay)—Emergency departments (EDs) have become an important source of admissions to U.S. hospitals and are increasingly being used to conduct complex work-ups, according to a report published by the RAND Corporation.

ER docs are key to reducing health care costs

May 20, 2013
Emergency physicians are key decisionmakers for nearly half of all hospital admissions, highlighting a critical role they can play in reducing health care costs, according to a new report from the RAND Corporation.

Nearly 50 percent increase in ICU admissions, new study says

May 14, 2013
A study released today by George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS) researchers offers an in-depth look at hospitals nationwide and admissions to intensive care units (ICU). The study, ...

ERs have become de facto psych wards

April 24, 2013
Long waits for insurance authorization allowing psychiatric patients to be admitted to the hospital from the emergency department waste thousands of hours of physician time, given that most requests for authorization are ...

Tackling 'frequent flyers' won't solve the rising emergency hospital admissions problem

September 18, 2012
Patients who are regularly admitted to hospital as emergencies (known as 'frequent flyers') make up a large proportion of admissions, but focusing just on them won't solve the problem of rising admissions, say experts in ...

Recommended for you

Sugar not so sweet for mental health

July 27, 2017
Sugar may be bad not only for your teeth and your waistline, but also your mental health, claimed a study Thursday that was met with scepticism by other experts.

Could insufficient sleep be adding centimeters to your waistline?

July 27, 2017
Adults in the UK who have poor sleep patterns are more likely to be overweight and obese and have poorer metabolic health, according to a new study.

Vitamin E-deficient embryos are cognitively impaired even after diet improves

July 27, 2017
Zebrafish deficient in vitamin E produce offspring beset by behavioral impairment and metabolic problems, new research at Oregon State University shows.

The role of dosage in assessing risk of hormone therapy for menopause

July 27, 2017
When it comes to assessing the risk of estrogen therapy for menopause, how the therapy is delivered—taking a pill versus wearing a patch on one's skin—doesn't affect risk or benefit, researchers at UCLA and elsewhere ...

Blowing smoke? E-cigarettes might help smokers quit

July 26, 2017
People who used e-cigarettes were more likely to kick the habit than those who didn't, a new study found.

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.