Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Medicine: The Crisis in Emergency Medicine

A recent series of reports from the Institute of Medicine (one of my favorite Institutes) evaluates the current state of Emergency Medicine in the US and also Pediatric Emergency Medicine. The report is available to read free online, but some of the key findings include:

• Demand for emergency care has been growing fast—
emergency department (ED) visits grew by 26 percent
between 1993 and 2003.
• But over the same period, the number of EDs declined
by 425, and the number of hospital beds declined by
• ED crowding is a hospital-wide problem—patients
back up in the ED because they can not get admitted to
inpatient beds.
• As a result, patients are often “boarded”—held in the
ED until an inpatient bed becomes available—for 48
hours or more.
• Three quarters of hospitals report difficulty finding
specialists to take emergency and trauma calls.
• Children make up 27 percent of all ED visits, but only
6 percent of EDs in the U.S. have all of the necessary
supplies for pediatric emergencies.

No comments: