Korean J Fam Pract 2019; 9(6): 527-531  https://doi.org/10.21215/kjfp.2019.9.6.527
Analysis of the Proportion of Patients Who Were Admitted to the Emergency Department of the Tertiary Care Hospital for Primary Care
Bo Ryoung Lee, Sun Wook Hwang*, Sang Mi Park, Hyo Joon Kim
Department of Family Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea
Sun Wook Hwang
Tel: +82-2-2030-2567, Fax: +82-2-2030-2573
E-mail: hw97med@hanmail.net
ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4143-4054
Received: August 22, 2019; Revised: November 4, 2019; Accepted: November 9, 2019; Published online: December 20, 2019.
© The Korean Academy of Family Medicine. All rights reserved.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Background: The medical service delivery system in Korea works inefficiently and patients tend to visit tertiary hospitals by means of the emergency department (ED). Overcrowding of the ED threatens the health and life of emergency patients as a result of the inability to effectively distribute emergency medical resources in the community. To solve this problem, improvement in the medical delivery system and dispersion of patients by strengthening primary care may be helpful. In order to make policy decisions for this, it is necessary to estimate the scale of patients who can be distributed to primary care.
Methods: From January 1 to December 31, 2016, we analyzed the National Emergency Department Information System (NEDIS) data of patients who visited a tertiary ED to examine the proportion of patients eligible for primary medical care. The inclusion and exclusion criteria for primary care were made through the consensus of three physicians.
Results: A total of 65,061 NEDIS records were analyzed. Among them, by inclusion criteria, 29,818 cases were Korean Triage and Acuity Scale level 4 and 5, and 11,791 patients visited the ED during the day. After considering the exclusion criteria, there were 6,468 cases who may be suitable for primary medical care.
Conclusion: Of the patients who visited the ED of tertiary hospitals, approximately 10% of them may be suitable for primary care. There should be a discussion and social consensus to reduce overcrowding in EDs and deliver better medical services.
Keywords: Mild Illness; Emergency Department; Korean Triage and Acuity Scale; Primary Care
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