Impact of wait time during a first pediatric emergency room visit on likelihood of revisit in the next year

Olivier Drouin, Antonio D'Angelo, Jocelyn Gravel
American Journal of Emergency Medicine 2019 July 3

OBJECTIVE: Pediatric emergency departments (ED) develop strategies to decrease wait time. Yet, lowering wait times may incite patients to come back, and increase patient volume. We aim to determine if wait time in a first visit influenced the likelihood of a revisit to the same setting.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective cohort study of children with a first visit to a single pediatric ED between November 1st 2016, and October 31st 2017. First visit was defined as no visit in the same ED in the previous 12 months. The primary outcome was the occurrence of a revisit at the same ED within 12 months of the first visit. Our main predictor was the wait time at the first visit for primary evaluation by a physician. We used multivariable logistic regression models to adjust for potential risk factors (age, triage level, day of visit and disposition).

RESULTS: Among 85,844 ED visits during the study period, 36,844 were first visits and fulfilled inclusion/exclusion criteria. Median wait time was 101 min (interquartile range: 56-177 min). Among those with a first visit, 11,351 (30.8%) had a revisit within 12 months. In multivariable analysis, each one hour increase in wait time was associated with a lower probability of revisit (OR: 0.92; 95% CI: 0.91-0.94).

CONCLUSIONS: Shorter wait time was associated with higher likelihood of a revisit to the same ED in the following 12 months. Strategies to reduce wait times should take into consideration possible concomitant increase in patient volume.


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