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First study of emergency care for an entire state finds care isn't always local
Date:12/20/2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- The first study to examine patterns of emergency care for an entire state has found that 40 percent of emergency department visits in Indiana over a three-year period were by patients who visited more than one emergency department. This finding challenges conventional wisdom that patients are tightly bound to health care systems and tend to repeatedly visit local facilities.

The Regenstrief Institute study, "All Health Care Is Not Local: An Evaluation of the Distribution of Emergency Department Care Delivered in Indiana" has been honored with a 2011 Distinguished Paper award at the AMIA Annual Symposium and has been published in the Proceedings of the AMIA 2011 Annual Symposium. AMIA is a professional society of health care professionals, informatics researchers and thought leaders in biomedicine, health care, and science.

The Regenstrief study reports that nearly all emergency departments in Indiana shared patients with nearly every other emergency department. The high degree of connectedness between emergency departments had not been previously recognized at this scale, according to the researchers.

"Our findings provide critical, previously unrealized information to policy makers as well as those, like ourselves, who are designing strategies and technology to link medical information electronically. These numbers challenge premises upon which health information exchange policy and technology have been based," said the senior study author, Regenstrief Institute investigator Shaun Grannis, M.D., M.S., associate professor of family medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

"Since EDs can't predict when patients will appear or know in what other places they have been seen, all EDs need instant access to information from wide swaths of geographic areas and actually the entire nation," said Dr. Grannis, who directs the Indiana Center of Excellence in Public Health Informatics, one of only four C
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Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen
caisen@iupui.edu
317-274-7722
Indiana University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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