National emergency department (ED) bounceback rates within 30 days of previous ED discharge have been found to be as high as 26%. We hypothesize that having a primary care physician (PCP) would prevent bouncebacks to the ED because a patient would have a medical resource for follow-up and continued care.
We performed a prospective, consecutive, anonymous survey study of adult ED patients at a suburban teaching hospital with 88,000 visits annually, from July 5, 2011 through August 8, 2011. Using chi-squared and Fisher's exact tests, we compared patients with an initial visit to those returning within 30 days of a previous visit to our ED.
We collected 1084 surveys. Those in the bounceback group were more likely to have no insurance (10.2% vs. 4.4%) or Medicaid (17.7% vs. 10.8%) and less likely to have a PCP (79% vs. 86%). Of those with a PCP, 9% in both groups had seen their PCP that day, 58% (initial visit) and 49% (bouncebacks) could have been seen that day, and 35% & 36%, respectively, within 1 week. Of those with a PCP, 38% of initial visits and 32% of bouncebacks stated they had already seen their physician at least once.
Our results suggest that patients who bounce back to the ED might have already contacted their PCP. Although insurance status and the lack thereof predict a higher likelihood to bounce back to the ED, many bouncebacks are insured patients with PCPs able to be seen the same day.
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The Dartmouth Institute. The Dartmouth atlas of health care. Available at: http://www.dartmouthatlas.org/data/region/profile.aspx?loc=128. Accessed May 20, 2014.
Published online: April 07, 2015
Accepted: December 21, 2014
Received in revised form: November 26, 2014
Received: May 20, 2014
Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval was acquired from the North Shore University Hospital IRB committee.
© 2015 Elsevier Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.