A Study on the Factors Associated with Non- Urgent Utilization of Emergency Department

Najnin Ahmed, Shah Salman Khan, Yasir Mehmood, Babar Ahad, Hamid Hussain, Naeem Ullah


Background: Increased use of Emergency Departments (EDs) for non-urgent primary care, overcrowding, and cost factors has forced healthcare systems to promote more "appropriateā€ use of the ED. However, few studies have evaluated patients' perceptions of emergency and why they utilize the ED for non-urgent medical care.

Objective: To understand the factors influencing patients' decision to visit ED for a non-urgent medical condition

Materials and Methods: This descriptive study evaluated the utilization of the ED for non-urgent healthcare problems in University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) .Two hundred and nine patients were surveyed prospectively regarding their perceptions of the urgeny of their presenting complaints during ED non-urgent visits. Physicians rated the subjects' level of urgency prospectively and retrospectively. The study evaluated patient's characteristics and factors that influence the use of the Emergency Departments for non-urgent cases

Results: The patients' perceptions of urgency were higher overall than the physicians' prospective and retrospective ratings. Patients ratings of emergency were 54% among the respondents. Physicians rated subjects urgency prospectively (6.7 % urgent , 36.4 % non-uregnt) and retrospectively (3.3 % urgent, 37.3 % non-urgent).

Conclusions: A number of demographic and socioeconomic factors arose from the study which elicited patients decision of choosing Emergency Departments for non-urgent conditions as well as their perceptions of urgency

Keywords: Non urgent cases, Emergency Departments, Primary Care

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