How (ED) admission decisions differ when the same physician works in two different emergency department

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Abstract

Study objective

Emergency physicians often work in multiple hospital emergency departments (EDs). We study how emergency physician admission decisions vary in different settings.

Methods

We conducted a retrospective, cross-sectional study over two years (2012 − 3) in six EDs in three states. Included physicians had ≥ 200 encounters per site in two different EDs. “Admissions” were ED encounters resulting in admission to the hospital or transfer to another hospital. The primary outcome was the adjusted admission rate difference between the two sites. Hierarchical logistic regression analysis was used to calculate adjusted admission rates for each physician, which were then tabulated for each physician and compared across sites.

Results

In 51,807 ED encounters seen by 16 physicians the average admission rate was 20.0%, and unadjusted admission rates differed between sites by 2.9% (range 0–8.4%) for the same physician. The adjusted admission rate was 19.3% and differed between sites by 2.1% (range 0.4%–6.2%).

Conclusion

In this sample, some ED physicians made similar admission decisions in different settings while others increased or decreased their admission rates up to 25% when practicing in a different ED.

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