Evaluation of patient transfers to the emergency department of a university hospital
Cem Ertan, Feride Sinem Akgün, Neslihan Yücel
İnönü Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi, Acil Tıp Ana Bilim Dalı, Malatya
Keywords: Emergency department, patient transfer, laws and regulations
Objective: The tiered health care delivery system helps patients get the medical care they need while avoiding unnecessary consumption of the limited sources in the case a proper patient flow is managed within the system. We aimed to analyze the profile and transfer conditions of the patients referred to our center with this cross-sectional study.
Methods: A total of 541 patients who were referred to our emergency department within the first two months of 2006 were evaluated. The demographic data, vital signs and diagnoses at the time of referral, the means of patient transfer and the distribution patterns of the patient transfers based on the days of the week and the hours of the day were recorded.
Results: The mean age of the patients was 47.97±21.02, and 245 were (45.3%) male. 98.5% of the patients were referred without prior consulting to the receiving facility. The most common pre-tranfer diagnosis was abdominal pain (9.6%). While 87.2% of the patients were transported with ambulances, only 77.7% of them had appropriate medical personnel accompanying them. The busiest days for patient transfers were Fridays (19.6%), Mondays (16.8%) and Saturdays (14.4%) respectively. The busiest interval of the day was between 12: 00 pm and 23: 59 pm (67.4%).
Conclusions: Our study showed that most of the transfers were performed by hospital ambulance services without consulting to the receiving facility. Almost 20% of the patients were not accompanied by a doctor in the ambulance. Patients were transferred after business hours and without proper specific diagnoses made. Most the patients were transferred without an appropriate epicrisis; therefore the receiving facilities were not informed about the prior interventions performed on patients.