Resource utilization of adult patients referred to the emergency department from an urgent care center.
BACKGROUND:The rise of urgent care centers (UCC) continues to serve as an alternative to emergency departments (ED) for patients with a perceived lower acuity complaint. Patients that are deemed to be higher acuity are often evaluated at an UCC and then redirected to EDs. However, limited data exist on resource utilization by patients who are transferred from UCCs to EDs. The objective of this study was to compare resource utilization in the ED between patients who were transferred from UCCs and those who were initially evaluated in the ED. METHODS:This was a retrospective study of adult patients transferred from UCCs in Staten Island, NY to Staten Island University Hospital, between 1 March 2018 and 31 December 2018. The first group (UCC Group) included those initially evaluated at an UCC and then referred to the ED. The second group (ED Group) included those who had their initial evaluation in the ED. RESULTS:572 subjects were enrolled in the UCC Group, and 84,481 in the ED Group. The UCC Group was more likely to undergo laboratory tests, plain radiographs and computed tomography, electrocardiograms, intravenous fluids, and parenteral medications. Patients in the UCC group were also more likely to be admitted to an inpatient bed or placed into ED observation (p < 0.0001). Overall, ED length of stay was longer in the UCC Group (p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS:Patients referred from an UCC required more ED resources and were more likely to be admitted to a hospital bed compared to those who initially self-referred to the ED.
Faculty; Northwell Researcher; Northwell Resident
School of Medicine; Northwell Health