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Nonemergent emergency department visits under the National Health Insurance in Taiwan

By Jeffrey Che-Hung Tsai, Wen-Yi Chen and Yia-Wun Liang

Abstract

Objectives To explore the magnitude of nonemergent emergency department visits under the Taiwan National Health Insurance program and to identify significant factors associated with these visits.Methods A cross-sectional analysis of the 2002 Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database was used to identify nonemergent emergency department conditions according to the New York University algorithm. The data contained 43,384 visits, of which 83.89% could be classified. Multivariate logistic regression identified individual and contextual factors associated with nonemergent emergency department visits.Results Nearly 15% of all emergency department visits were nonemergent; an additional 20% were emergent-preventable with primary care. Patients likely to make nonemergent emergency department visits were older, female, categorized as a Taiwan National Health Insurance Category IV beneficiary, and without major illness. Hospital accreditation level, teaching status, and location were associated with an increased likelihood of nonemergent emergency department visits.Conclusion Understanding the factors leading to nonemergent emergency department visits can assist in evaluating the overall quality of a health care system and help reduce the use of the emergency department for nonemergent conditions. Policy makers desiring cost-effective care should assess emergency department visit rates in light of available resources for specific populations.Access Emergency department utilization Nonemergent NHIRD

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