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Diversion of ambulances associated with increased risk of death for heart-attack patients
Date:6/12/2011

d 1-year (35 percent vs. 29 percent).

"These findings point to the need for more targeted interventions to appropriately distribute system-level resources in such a way to decrease crowding and diversion, so that patients with time-sensitive conditions such as AMI are not adversely affected. It is important to emphasize that while demand on emergency care is increasing as evidenced by increasing utilization, supply of emergency care is decreasing. If these issues are not addressed on a larger scale, ED conditions will deteriorate, having significant implications for all," the authors write.

They add that possible policy options to improve such care could include patient flow initiatives that have been implemented in many counties and states with success. "Diversion bans have been implemented in various regions, with the first statewide ban on diversion in Massachusetts in 2009. Early evaluation of this recent legislation has not revealed any negative outcomes for patients, at least when measured by waiting times. To prevent adverse consequences for patients, however, it is critical that such policies are implemented in conjunction with hospital-level changes beyond the ED that improve inpatient capacity and patient flow."


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Contact: Alan Richmond
abrichmo@nps.edu
831-656-3649
JAMA and Archives Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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