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

enters for Disease Control-funded public health informatics centers in the nation. Data from the Indiana Public Health Emergency Surveillance System was used in the study to determine where emergency department visits were occurring.

As patients in the emergency department often forget key details or are too ill or injured to provide relevant medical history, medications or allergy information, immediate access to their complete medical records is critical to providing appropriate care.

"What may appear to be a simple problem is no longer simple when someone comes in for a second or third ED visit for the same issue. You are no longer thinking earache, you are thinking possible bone infection. Knowing that a patient who comes to the ED with chest pain had a recent clear cardiac scan will make a difference in treatment," said Regenstrief Institute investigator John T. Finnell, M.D., M.S., associate professor of emergency medicine at the IU School of Medicine, who is an author of the new study. He is an emergency medicine physician.

The researchers were not surprised by the large volume of visits to emergency departments across the state. Approximately 2.8 million patients generated 7.4 million visits over three years. But the wide range of the number of visits per patient from one to 385 was unexpected.

"Although our findings were specific to Indiana, ED use in other states is likely to be quite similar because there is nothing particularly unique about emergency care delivery in Indiana," Dr. Finnell said.


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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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