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BMC Res Notes. 2017 Dec 28;10(1):772. doi: 10.1186/s13104-017-3071-1.

Lack of CT scanner in a rural emergency department increases inter-facility transfers: a pilot study.

Author information

1
Chaire de recherche en médecine d'urgence de l'Université Laval, CHAU Hôtel-Dieu de Lévis, 143 Rue Wolfe, Lévis, QC, G6V 3Z1, Canada.
2
Chaire de recherche en médecine d'urgence de l'Université Laval, CHAU Hôtel-Dieu de Lévis, 143 Rue Wolfe, Lévis, QC, G6V 3Z1, Canada. Richard.Fleet@fmed.ulaval.ca.
3
Department of Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine, Université Laval, 1050, Avenue de la Médecine, Québec City, QC, G1V 0A6, Canada. Richard.Fleet@fmed.ulaval.ca.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Rural emergency departments (EDs) are an important gateway to care for the 20% of Canadians who reside in rural areas. Less than 15% of Canadian rural EDs have access to a computed tomography (CT) scanner. We hypothesized that a significant proportion of inter-facility transfers from rural hospitals without CT scanners are for CT imaging. Our objective was to assess inter-facility transfers for CT imaging in a rural ED without a CT scanner.

RESULTS:

We selected a rural ED that offers 24/7 medical care with admission beds but no CT scanner. Descriptive statistics were collected from 2010 to 2015 on total ED visits and inter-facility transfers. Data was accessible through hospital and government databases. Between 2010 and 2014, there were respectively 13,531, 13,524, 13,827, 12,883, and 12,942 ED visits, with an average of 444 inter-facility transfers. An average of 33% (148/444) of inter-facility transfers were to a rural referral centre with a CT scan, with 84% being for CT scan. Inter-facility transfers incur costs and potential delays in patient diagnosis and management, yet current databases could not capture transfer times. Acquiring a CT scan may represent a reasonable opportunity for the selected rural hospital considering the number of required transfers.

KEYWORDS:

Computed tomography; Emergency department; Inter-facility transfer; Rural

PMID:
29282113
PMCID:
PMC5745590
DOI:
10.1186/s13104-017-3071-1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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