Primary care patients in the emergency department: who are they? A review of the definition of the 'primary care patient' in the emergency department.


Bezzina, AJ; Smith, PB; Cromwell, D; Eagar, K; (2005) Primary care patients in the emergency department: who are they? A review of the definition of the 'primary care patient' in the emergency department. Emergency medicine Australasia, 17 (5-6). pp. 472-9. ISSN 1742-6731 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1742-6723.2005.00779.x

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To review the definition of 'primary care' and 'inappropriate' patients in ED and develop a generally acceptable working definition of a 'primary care' presentation in ED. METHOD: A Medline review of articles on primary care in ED and the definitions used. RESULTS: A total of 34 reviewed papers contained a proposed definition or comment on the definition for potential 'primary care', 'general practice', or 'inappropriate' patients in ED. A representative definition was developed premised on the common factors in these papers: low urgency/acuity--triage categories four or five in the Australasian Triage Scale, self-referred--by definition, patients referred by general practitioner/community primary medical services are not primary care cases because a primary care service has referred them on, presenting for a new episode of care (i.e. not a planned return because planned returns are not self-referred), unlikely to be admitted (in the opinion of Emergency Nurse interviewers) or ultimately not admitted. DISCUSSION: This definition can be applied either prospectively or retrospectively, depending on the purpose. Appropriateness must be considered in light of a legitimate role for ED in primary care and the balance of resources between primary care and emergency medicine in local settings.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Health Services Research and Policy
PubMed ID: 16302940
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/11019

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