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J Gen Intern Med. 2005 Oct;20(10):938-42.

BRIEF REPORT: Factors affecting outpatient follow-up compliance of emergency department patients.

Author information

1
Department of Emergency Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Ill, USA. dkyriacou@aol.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Emergency department (ED) patients often fail to follow-up with referrals to outpatient clinics and physicians.

OBJECTIVE:

To compare the effects of 2 ED discharge instructional methods on outpatient follow-up compliance and to evaluate sociodemographic characteristics as possible factors affecting outpatient follow-up compliance.

DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS:

Randomized trial of ED patients. At discharge, the intervention group had their follow-up appointment made and the standard group was given our hospital's referral service phone number to make their own follow-up appointment.

MEASUREMENTS:

Outpatient clinics were called 1 month after each subject's ED discharge to ascertain if they followed-up. Poisson regression was used to examine the effects of sociodemographic factors on follow-up compliance.

RESULTS:

Of 287 eligible subjects, 250 (87%) agreed to participate. Follow-up rates were 59% for the intervention group and 37% for the standard group (P<.001). Having a primary care physicians appeared to increase ED patients' outpatient follow-up compliance and having Medicaid insurance appeared to decrease outpatient follow-up compliance, but neither of these findings was statistically significant.

CONCLUSIONS:

In our ED, patients who have their outpatient follow-up appointment made at discharge have a significantly greater probability of follow-up compliance compared with patients given standard discharge instructions. Most sociodemographic characteristics do not affect our ED patients' follow-up compliance.

PMID:
16191142
PMCID:
PMC1490224
DOI:
10.1111/j.1525-1497.2005.0216_1.x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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