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Nearly half of ED visits involve lab work and/or imaging: according to review of visits at one academic med center

About 49 percent of visits to the emergency department involved lab work and exactly the same percentage of visits included the ordering of imaging studies, according to this study of about a quarter million visits to the ED at Maine Medical Center (Portland, ME) from 2005 to 2009.  The objective of the study was to analyze whether having medical students and residents present at this large teaching hospital added to the time that the patient was in the ED.  The finding was, yes, it did, but not very much — not nearly as much as was added if the patient was sent for testing.

I’d like to note some interesting data in the tables.  Now, remember that these data are from just one hospital.  Still, the data are based on a large number of patients over five years.

  • ED patients admitted to the hospital = 22 percent
  • Median length of stay in the ED = 210 minutes (unadjusted)
  • Median DTMP (door to medical provider) = 51 minutes (unadjusted)
  • They also have a breakdown of triage acuity into 5 different categories — and what the median length of stay in the ED was for each category

Source: DeLaney, M., Zimmerman, K.D., and others.  The effect of medical students and residents on measures of efficiency and timeliness in an academic medical center emergency department.  Academic Medicine;88(11):1723-1731, Nov. 2013.    Click here to access publisher’s website: http://journals.lww.com/academicmedicine/Citation/2013/11000/The_Effect_of_Medical_Students_and_Residents_on.42.aspx  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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