Demand for public hospital emergency department services in Australia: 2000–2001 to 2009–2010

Fitzgerald, Gerry, Toloo, Sam, Rego, Joanna, Ting, Joseph, Aitken, Peter, and Tippett, Vivienne (2012) Demand for public hospital emergency department services in Australia: 2000–2001 to 2009–2010. Emergency Medicine Australasia, 24 (1). pp. 72-78.

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Abstract

Objective: Hospital EDs are a significant and high-profile component of Australia's health-care system, which in recent years have experienced considerable crowding. This crowding is caused by the combination of increasing demand, throughput and output factors. The aim of the present article is to clarify trends in the use of public ED services across Australia with a view to providing an evidence basis for future policy analysis and discussion.

Methods: The data for the present article have been extracted, compiled and analysed from publicly available sources for a 10 year period between 2000–2001 and 2009–2010.

Results: Demand for public ED care increased by 37% over the decade, an average annual increase of 1.8% in the utilization rate per 1000 persons. There were significant differences in utilization rates and in trends in growth among states and territories that do not easily relate to general population trends alone.

Conclusions: This growth in demand exceeds general population growth, and the variability between states both in utilization rates and overall trends defies immediate explanation. The growth in demand for ED services is a partial contributor to the crowding being experienced in EDs across Australia. There is a need for more detailed study, including qualitative analysis of patient motivations in order to identify the factors driving this growth in demand.

Item ID: 43932
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1742-6723
Keywords: Australia, demand, emergency department, public hospital, utilization trend
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Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS)
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2016 02:28
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110305 Emergency Medicine @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920407 Health Protection and/or Disaster Response @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920412 Preventive Medicine @ 50%
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