National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 1997 emergency department summary

P Nourjah
Advance Data 1999 May 6, (304): 1-24

OBJECTIVES: This report describes ambulatory care visits to hospital emergency departments in the United States. Statistics are presented on selected patient and visit characteristics.

METHODS: The data presented in this report were collected from the 1997 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS). NHAMCS is part of the ambulatory care component of the National Health Care Survey that measures health care utilization across various types of providers. NHAMCS is a national probability survey of visits to hospital emergency and outpatient departments of non-Federal, short-stay, and general hospitals in the United States. Sample data were weighted to produce annual estimates.

RESULTS: During 1997, an estimated 94.9 million visits were made to hospital emergency departments (ED's) in the United States, about 35.6 visits per 100 persons. Persons 75 years and over had the highest rate of ED visits. There were an estimated 35.1 million injury-related ED visits during 1997, or 13.2 visits per 100 persons. Seventy percent of injury-related ED visits were made by persons under 45 years of age. Injury visit rates were higher for males than females in each age group under 45 years. According to ICD-9-CM classification, about four-fifths of injury visits were unintentional. Almost 72 percent of the ED visits involved medication therapy, with pain relief drugs accounting for almost 30 percent of the medications mentioned. Acute upper respiratory infection was the leading illness-related diagnosis at ED visits.

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