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2022 ◽  
Vol 23 (1) ◽  
Sarah Cooper ◽  
Elham Rahme ◽  
Sze Man Tse ◽  
Roland Grad ◽  
Marc Dorais ◽  

Abstract Background Having a primary care provider and a continuous relationship may be important for asthma outcomes. In this study, we sought to determine the association between 1) having a usual provider of primary care (UPC) and asthma-related emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalization in Québec children with asthma and 2) UPC continuity of care and asthma outcomes. Methods Population-based retrospective cohort study using Québec provincial health administrative data, including children 2-16 years old with asthma (N = 39, 341). Exposures and outcomes were measured from 2010-2011 and 2012-2013, respectively. Primary exposure was UPC stratified by the main primary care models in Quebec (team-based Family Medicine Groups, family physicians not in Family Medicine Groups, pediatricians, or no assigned UPC). For those with an assigned UPC the secondary exposure was continuity of care, measured by the UPC Index (high, medium, low). Four multivariate logistic regression models examined associations between exposures and outcomes (ED visits and hospitalizations). Results Overall, 17.4% of children had no assigned UPC. Compared to no assigned UPC, having a UPC was associated with decreased asthma-related ED visits (pediatrician Odds Ratio (OR): 0.80, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) [0.73, 0.88]; Family Medicine Groups OR: 0.84, 95% CI [0.75,0.93]; non-Family Medicine Groups OR: 0.92, 95% CI [0.83, 1.02]) and hospital admissions (pediatrician OR: 0.66, 95% CI [0.58, 0.75]; Family Medicine Groups OR: 0.82, 95% CI [0.72, 0.93]; non-Family Medicine Groups OR: 0.76, 95% CI [0.67, 0.87]). Children followed by a pediatrician were more likely to have high continuity of care. Continuity of care was not significantly associated with asthma-related ED visits. Compared to low continuity, medium and high continuity of care decreased asthma-related hospital admissions, but none of these associations were significant. Conclusion Having a UPC was associated with reduced asthma-related ED visits and hospital admissions. However, continuity of care was not significantly associated with outcomes. The current study provides ongoing evidence for the importance of primary care in children with asthma.

PLoS ONE ◽  
2022 ◽  
Vol 17 (1) ◽  
pp. e0262136
Arjun K. Venkatesh ◽  
Alexander T. Janke ◽  
Jeremy Kinsman ◽  
Craig Rothenberg ◽  
Pawan Goyal ◽  

Background As the emergency department (ED) has evolved into the de-facto site of care for a variety of substance use disorder (SUD) presentations, trends in ED utilization are an essential public health surveillance tool. Changes in ED visit patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic may reflect changes in access to outpatient treatment, changes in SUD incidence, or the unintended effects of public policy to mitigate COVID-19. We use a national emergency medicine registry to describe and characterize trends in ED visitation for SUDs since 2019. Methods We included all ED visits identified in a national emergency medicine clinical quality registry, which included 174 sites across 33 states with data from January 2019 through June 2021. We defined SUD using ED visit diagnosis codes including: opioid overdose and opioid use disorder (OUD), alcohol use disorders (AUD), and other SUD. To characterize changes in ED utilization, we plotted the 3-week moving average ratio of visit counts in 2020 and 2021 as compared to visit counts in 2019. Findings While overall ED visits declined in the early pandemic period and had not returned to 2019 baseline by June 2021, ED visit counts for SUD demonstrated smaller declines in March and April of 2020, so that the proportion of overall ED visits that were for SUD increased. Furthermore, in the second half of 2020, ED visits for SUD returned to baseline, and increased above baseline for OUD ever since May 2020. Conclusions We observe distinct patterns in ED visitation for SUDs over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for OUD for which ED visitation barely declined and now exceeds previous baselines. These trends likely demonstrate the essential role of hospital-based EDs in providing 24/7/365 care for people with SUDs and mental health conditions. Allocation of resources must be directed towards the ED as a de-facto safety net for populations in crisis.

2022 ◽  
Lindsey Wang ◽  
Nathan A Berger ◽  
David C Kaelber ◽  
Pamela B Davis ◽  
Nora D Volkow ◽  

Abstract Importance Pediatric SARS-CoV-2 infections and hospitalizations are rising in the US and other countries after the emergence of Omicron variant. However data on disease severity from Omicron compared with Delta in children under 5 in the US is lacking. Objectives To compare severity of clinic outcomes in children under 5 who contracted COVID infection for the first time before and after the emergence of Omicron in the US. Design, Setting, and Participants This is a retrospective cohort study of electronic health record (EHR) data of 79,592 children under 5 who contracted SARS-CoV-2 infection for the first time, including 7,201 infected when the Omicron predominated (Omicron cohort), 63,203 infected when the Omicron predominated (Delta cohort), and another 9,188 infected when the Omicron predominated but immediately before the Omicron variant was detected in the US (Delta-2 cohort). Exposures First time infection of SARS-CoV-2. Main Outcomes and Measures After propensity-score matching, severity of COVID infections including emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, and mechanical ventilation use in the 3-day time-window following SARS-CoV-2 infection were compared between Omicron and Delta cohorts, and between Delta-2 and Delta cohorts. Risk ratios, and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated. Results Among 7,201 infected children in the Omicron cohort (average age of 1.49 years), 47.4% were female, 2.4% Asian, 26.1% Black, 13.7% Hispanic, and 44.0% White. Before propensity score matching, the Omicron cohort were younger than the Delta cohort (average age 1.49 vs 1.73 years), comprised of more Black children, and had fewer comorbidities. After propensity-score matching for demographics, socio-economic determinants of health, comorbidities and medications, risks for severe clinical outcomes in the Omicron cohort were significantly lower than those in the Delta cohort: ED visits: 18.83% vs. 26.67% (risk ratio or RR: 0.71 [0.66-0.75]); hospitalizations: 1.04% vs. 3.14% (RR: 0.33 [0.26-0.43]); ICU admissions: 0.14% vs. 0.43% (RR: 0.32 [0.16-0.66]); mechanical ventilation: 0.33% vs. 1.15% (RR: 0.29 [0.18-0.46]). Control studies comparing Delta-2 to Delta cohorts show no difference. Conclusions and Relevance For children under age 5, first time SARS-CoV-2 infections occurring when the Omicron predominated (prevalence >92%) was associated with significantly less severe outcomes than first-time infections in similar children when the Delta variant predominated.

2022 ◽  
Vol 22 (1) ◽  
Heidi Sjoberg ◽  
Wenhui Liu ◽  
Carly Rohs ◽  
Roman A Ayele ◽  
Marina McCreight ◽  

Abstract Background Veterans increasingly utilize both the Veteran’s Health Administration (VA) and non-VA hospitals (dual-users). Dual-users are at increased risk of fragmented care and adverse outcomes and often do not receive necessary follow-up care addressing social determinants of health (SDOH). We developed a Veteran-informed social worker-led Advanced Care Coordination (ACC) program to decrease fragmented care and provide longitudinal care coordination addressing SDOH for dual-users accessing non-VA emergency departments (EDs) in two communities. Methods ACC had four core components: 1. Notification from non-VA ED providers of Veterans’ ED visit; 2. ACC social worker completed a comprehensive assessment with the Veteran to identify SDOH needs; 3. Clinical intervention addressing SDOH up to 90 days post-ED discharge; and 4. Warm hand-off to Veteran’s VA primary care team. Data was documented in our program database. We performed propensity matching between a control group and ACC participants between 4/10/2018 – 4/1/2020 (N- = 161). A joint survival model using Markov Chain Monte Carlo technique was employed for 30-day outcomes. We performed Difference-In-Difference analyses on number of ED visits, admissions, and primary care physician (PCP) visits 120-day pre/post discharge. Results When compared to a matched control group ACC had significantly lower risk of 30-day ED visits (Hazard Ratio (HR) = 0.61, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = (0.42, 0.92)) and a higher probability of PCP visits at 13–30 days post-ED visit (HR = 1.5, 95% CI = (1.01, 2.22)). Veterans enrolled in ACC were connected to VA PCP visits (50%), VA benefits (19%), home health care (10%), mental health and substance use treatment (7%), transportation (7%), financial assistance (5%), and homeless resources (2%). Conclusion We developed and implemented a program addressing dual-users’ SDOH needs post non-VA ED discharge. Social workers connected dual-users to needed follow-up care and resources which reduced fragmentation and adverse outcomes.

2022 ◽  
pp. emermed-2021-211466
Michael Dunn ◽  
Kate Savoie ◽  
Guliz Erdem ◽  
Michael W Dykes ◽  
Don Buckingham ◽  

BackgroundAbscesses are a common reason for ED visits. While many are drained in the ED, some require drainage in the operating room (OR). We observed that a higher percentage of patients at our institution in Columbus, Ohio, were admitted to the hospital with abscesses for incision and drainage (I&D) in the OR than other institutions, including paediatric institutions. Our aim was to decrease hospitalisations for abscess management.MethodsA multidisciplinary team convened to decrease hospitalisation for patients with abscesses and completed multiple ‘Plan-Do-Study-Act’ cycles, including increasing I&Ds performed in the ED. Other interventions included implementation of a clinical pathway, training of procedure technicians (PT), updating the electronic medical record (EMR), credentialing advanced practice nurses in sedation and individual follow-up with providers for admitted patients. Data were analysed using statistical process control charts. Gross average charges were assessed.ResultsAdmissions for I&D decreased from 26.3% to 13.7%. Abscess drainage in the ED improved from 79.3% to 96.5%. Mean length of stay decreased from 19.5 to 11.5 hours for all patients. Patients sedated increased from 3.3% to 18.2%. The number of repeat I&Ds within 30 days decreased from 4.3% to 1.7%.ConclusionWe decreased hospitalisations for abscess I&D by using quality improvement methodology. The most influential intervention was an initiative to increase I&Ds performed in the ED. Additional interventions included expanded training of PTs, implementation of a clinical pathway, updating the EMR, improving interdepartmental communication and increasing sedation providers.

2022 ◽  
Vol 22 (1) ◽  
Carolyn Hullick ◽  
Jane Conway ◽  
Alix Hall ◽  
Wendy Murdoch ◽  
Janean Cole ◽  

Abstract Background Older people living in Residential Aged Care (RAC) are at high risk of clinical deterioration. Telehealth has the potential to provide timely, patient-centred care where transfer to hospital can be a burden and avoided. The extent to which video telehealth is superior to other forms of telecommunication and its impact on management of acutely unwell residents in aged care facilities has not been explored previously. Methods In this study, video-telehealth consultation was added to an existing program, the Aged Care Emergency (ACE) program, aiming at further reducing Emergency Department (ED) visits and hospital admissions. This controlled pre-post study introduced video-telehealth consultation as an additional component to the ACE program for acutely unwell residents in RACs. Usual practice is for RACs and ACE to liaise via telephone. During the study, when the intervention RACs called the ED advanced practice nurse, video-telehealth supported clinical assessment and management. Five intervention RACs were compared with eight control RACs, all of whom refer to one community hospital in regional New South Wales, Australia. Fourteen months pre-video-telehealth was compared with 14 months post-video-telehealth using generalized linear mixed models for hospital admissions after an ED visit and ED visits. One thousand two hundred seventy-one ED visits occurred over the 28-month study period with 739 subsequent hospital admissions. Results There were no significant differences in hospital admission or ED visits after the introduction of video-telehealth; adjusted incident rate ratios (IRR) were 0.98 (confidence interval (CI) 0.55 to 1.77) and 0.89 (95% CI 0.53 to 1.47) respectively. Conclusions Video-telehealth did not show any incremental benefit when added to a structured hospital avoidance program with nursing telephone support. Trial registration The larger Aged Care Emergency evaluation is registered with ANZ Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12616000588493.

2022 ◽  
Lauren M OReilly ◽  
Azhar I Dalal ◽  
Serena Maag ◽  
Matthew T Perry ◽  
Alex Card ◽  

Study Objective: To assess the prevalence of several impairing behavioral health domains in stable patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) through the use of computer adaptive testing and the association among the domains, standard assessments, and ED utilization. Methods: This was a single-center observational study of 828 randomly selected adult patients presenting to the ED from May 2019 to March 2020. The main outcomes of interest were the self-administered, validated computer adaptive assessments of suicidality, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and substance abuse using computer adaptive testing, the CAT-MHTM. We estimated the association among the CAT-MHTM subscales, standard assessments, and the number of ED visits in the year prior and 30 days after enrollment. Results: The proportion of those who scored above the threshold of low/mild risk were: 24.1% (suicidality), 8.3% (depression), 16.5% (anxiety), 12.3% (PTSD), and 20.4% (substance use). While the CAT-MHTM subscales were highly correlated with other self-report assessments, they were not highly associated with standard ED assessments of suicidality. When examining associations with ED use, for example, individuals who had two or more ED visits in the prior year had 51% increased odds of being in the intermediate-high suicide risk category (95% Confidence Interval [CI], 1.03-2.23) compared to those with zero prior ED visits. Conclusion: The CAT-MHTM can document the high prevalence of mental health conditions in the ED, which were missed by standard ED practices. Mental health problems are associated with ED utilization in a population of patients presenting largely for somatic complaints.

2022 ◽  
Vol 22 (1) ◽  
Clarisse Lobo ◽  
Patricia Moura ◽  
Delaine Fidlarczyk ◽  
Jane Duran ◽  
Roberto Barbosa ◽  

Abstract Background The costs associated with the treatment of sickle cell disease (SCD) are understudied in low and middle-income countries (LMIC). We evaluated the cost of treating SCD-related acute complications and the potential cost-savings of hydroxyurea in a specialized hematology center in Brazil. Methods The costs (US dollars) of emergency department (ED) and hospitalizations from SCD-related complications between 01.01.2018 and 06.30.2018 were ascertained using absorption and micro-costing approaches. The reasons for acute hospital visits were grouped as: 1) vaso-occlusive (VOC) pain, 2) infection, 3) anemia exacerbation, and 4) chronic organ damage complications. Hydroxyurea adherence was estimated by medication possession ratio (MPR) during the study period. Results In total, 1144 patients, median age 17 years (range 0–70), 903 (78.9%) with HbSS/HbSβ0-thalassemia, 441 (38.5%) prescribed hydroxyurea, visited the ED, of whom 381 (33%) were admitted. VOC accounted for 64% of all ED visits and 60% of all admissions. Anemia exacerbation was the most expensive reason for ED visit ($321.87/visit), while chronic organ damage carried the highest admission cost ($2176.40/visit). Compared with other genotypes, individuals with HbSS/HbSβ0-thalassemia were admitted more often (79% versus 21%, p < 0.0001), and their admission costs were higher ($1677.18 versus $1224.47/visit, p = 0.0001). Antibiotics and analgesics accounted for 43% and 42% of the total ED costs, respectively, while housing accounted for 46% of the total admission costs. Costs of ED visits not resulting in admissions were lower among HbSS/HbSβ0-thalassemia individuals with hydroxyurea MPR ≥65% compared with visits by patients with MPR <65% ($98.16/visit versus $182.46/visit, p = 0.0007). No difference in admission costs were observed relative to hydroxyurea use. Discussion In a LMIC hematology-specialized center, VOCs accounted for most acute visits from patients with SCD, but costs were highest due to anemia exacerbation. Analgesics, antibiotics, and housing drove most expenses. Hydroxyurea may reduce ED costs among individuals with HbSS/HbSβ0-thalassemia but is dependent on adherence level.

2022 ◽  
Vol 20 (1) ◽  
Nasim S. Sabounchi ◽  
Rebekah Heckmann ◽  
Gail D’Onofrio ◽  
Jennifer Walker ◽  
Robert Heimer

Abstract Background Although Good Samaritan laws (GSLs) have been widely adopted throughout the United States, their efficacy in individual states is often unknown. This paper offers an approach for assessing the impact of GSLs and insight for policy-makers and public health officials who wish to know whether they should expect to see outcomes from similar policy interventions. Methods Utilizing a system dynamics (SD) modeling approach, the research team conducted a policy evaluation to determine the impact of GSLs on opioid use disorder (OUD) in Connecticut and evaluated the GSL based upon the following health outcomes: (1) emergency department (ED) visits for overdose, (2) behavioral changes of bystanders, and (3) overdose deaths. Results The simulation model suggests that Connecticut’s GSL has not yet affected overdose deaths but has resulted in bystander behavioral changes, such as increased 911 calls for overdose. ED visits have increased as the number of opioid users has increased. Conclusions The simulation results indicate that the number of opioid-related deaths will continue to increase and that the GSL alone cannot effectively control the crisis. However, the SD approach that was used will allow policymakers to evaluate the effectiveness of the GSL over time using a simulation framework. This SD model demonstrates great potential by producing simulations that allow policymakers to assess multiple strategies for combating the opioid crisis and select optimal public health interventions.

2022 ◽  
Vol 22 (1) ◽  
Stephanie A. Chamberlain ◽  
Susan E. Bronskill ◽  
Zoe Hsu ◽  
Erik Youngson ◽  
Andrea Gruneir

Abstract Background Supportive living (SL) facilities are intended to provide a residential care setting in a less restrictive and more cost-effective way than nursing homes (NH). SL residents with poor social relationships may be at risk for increased health service use. We describe the demographic and health service use patterns of lonely and socially isolated SL residents and to quantify associations between loneliness and social isolation on unplanned emergency department (ED) visits. Methods We conducted a retrospective cohort study using population-based linked health administrative data from Alberta, Canada. All SL residents aged 18 to 105 years who had at least one Resident Assessment Instrument-Home Care (RAI-HC) assessment between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2018 were observed. Loneliness and social isolation were measured as a resident indicating that he/she feels lonely and if the resident had neither a primary nor secondary caregiver, respectively. Health service use in the 1 year following assessment included unplanned ED visits, hospital admissions, admission to higher levels of SL, admission to NH and death. Multivariable Cox proportional hazard models examined the association between loneliness and social isolation on the time to first unplanned ED visit. Results We identified 18,191 individuals living in Alberta SL facilities. The prevalence of loneliness was 18% (n = 3238), social isolation was 4% (n = 713). Lonely residents had the greatest overall health service use. Risk of unplanned ED visit increased with loneliness (aHR = 1.10, 95% CI: 1.04–1.15) but did not increase with social isolation (aHR = 0.95, 95% CI: 0.84–1.06). Conclusions Lonely residents had a different demographic profile (older, female, cognitively impaired) from socially isolated residents and were more likely to experience an unplanned ED visit. Our findings suggest the need to develop interventions to assist SL care providers with how to identify and address social factors to reduce risk of unplanned ED visits.

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