Urgent Care Transfers to an Academic Pediatric Emergency Department

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Abstract

Objectives

The aim of this study was to investigate the hypothesis that a significant percentage of urgent care center to pediatric ED transfers can be discharged home without emergency department (ED) resource utilization.

Methods

A retrospective chart review was completed for a 6-month period on all patients transferred from urgent care centers. A data collection tool focusing on demographics, diagnoses, reason for transfer, ED resource utilization, ED disposition, and 72-hour ED return was used. Each encounter was classified as “urgent” or “nonurgent” based on resource utilization criteria. Descriptive statistics were reported for demographics, encounter data, and 72-hour ED return stratified by nonurgent versus urgent classification. Two-sample t, χ2, and Fisher exact tests were used to assess differences in characteristics between the nonurgent and urgent groups.

Results

One hundred nine patients met inclusion criteria. Of these, 93 (85%) were discharged from the ED. Twenty nine (27%) of the transferred patients were discharged without ED resource utilization. Seventy-two–hour return was noted for only 1 patient who was again discharged at the subsequent encounter.

Conclusions

A large proportion of patients transferred from urgent care centers were directly discharged from the ED without any ED resource utilization. Eliminating or reducing such transfers has the potential to limit the amount of nonurgent ED visits, thus producing cost savings and better patient care.

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