Predictors of Pediatric Frequent Emergency Department Use Among 7.6 million Pediatric Patients in New York
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ObjectiveThis study examines the characteristics and factors associated with frequent emergency department (ED) utilization among the pediatric population.
MethodsWe conducted a pooled cross-sectional secondary analysis using the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project State Emergency and Inpatient Databases on ED visits to all hospitals in New York from 2011-2016 by patients aged 0 to 21. We used multivariable logistic and negative binomial regressions to investigate the predictors of multiple ED visits in the pediatric population.
ResultsOverall, our study included 7.6 million pediatric patients who accounted for more than 12 million ED visits. Of those, 6.2% of patients were frequent ED users (4 visits/year), accounting for 20.8% of all ED visits (5.4 ED visits/year on average). The strongest predictors of frequent ED use were having at least one ED visit related to asthma (aOR=8.37 [95% CI: 6.34-11.04]), mental health disorders (aOR=9.67 [95% CI: 8.60-10.89]), or multiple comorbidities compared to none. Larger shares of ED visits for not-emergent conditions were also associated with frequent ED use (aOR=6.63 [95% CI=5.08-8.65]). Being covered by Medicaid compared to private (aOR=0.45 [95% CI: 0.42-0.47]) or no insurance (aOR=0.41 [95% CI: 0.38-0.44]) were further associated with frequent ED use. The results from the negative binomial regression yielded consistent findings.
ConclusionPediatric patients who exhibit increased ED use are more medically complex and have increased healthcare needs that are inextricably tied to social determinants of health. Better integrated health systems should emphasize connecting vulnerable patients to appropriate social and primary care services outside of emergency settings.
author list (cited authors)
Anyatonwu, S. C., Giannouchos, T. V., Washburn, D. J., Quinonez, R. A., Ohsfeldt, R. L., & Kum, H.