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Piloting data linkage in a prospective cohort study of a GP referral scheme to avoid unnecessary emergency department conveyance

Blodgett, JM; Robertson, DJ; Ratcliffe, D; Rockwood, K; (2020) Piloting data linkage in a prospective cohort study of a GP referral scheme to avoid unnecessary emergency department conveyance. BMC Emergency Medicine , 20 (1) , Article 48. 10.1186/s12873-020-00343-w. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: UK Ambulance services are under pressure to safely stream appropriate patients away from the Emergency Department (ED). Even so, there has been little evaluation of patient outcomes. We investigated differences between patients who are conveyed directly to ED after calling 999 and those referred by an ambulance crew to a novel GP referral scheme. METHODS: This was a prospective study comparing patients from two cohorts, one conveyed directly to the ED (n = 4219) and the other referred to a GP by the on-scene paramedic (n = 321). To compare differences in patient outcomes, we include follow-up data of a smaller subset of each cohort (up to n = 150 in each) including hospital admission, history of long-term illness, previous ED attendance, length of stay, hospital investigations, internal transfers, 30-day re-admission and 10-month mortality. RESULTS: Older individuals, females, and those with minor incidents were more likely to be referred to a GP than conveyed directly to ED. Of those patients referred to the GP, only 22.4% presented at ED within 30 days. These patients were more likely to be admitted then than were those initially conveyed directly to ED (59% vs 31%). Those conveyed to ED had a higher risk of death compared to those who were referred to the GP (HR: 2.59; 95% CI 1.14–5.89), however when analyses were restricted to those who presented at ED within 30 days, there was no difference in mortality risk (HR: 1.45; 95% CI 0.58–3.65). CONCLUSIONS: Despite limited data and a small sample size, there were differences between patients conveyed directly to ED and those who were referred into GP care. Initial evidence suggests that referring individuals to a GP may provide an appropriate and safe alternative path of care. This pilot study demonstrated a need for larger scale, methodologically rigorous study to demonstrate the benefits of alternative conveyance schemes and recommend changes to the current system of urgent and emergency care.

Type: Article
Title: Piloting data linkage in a prospective cohort study of a GP referral scheme to avoid unnecessary emergency department conveyance
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12873-020-00343-w
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12873-020-00343-w
Language: English
Additional information: © 2020 BioMed Central Ltd. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Emergency care, Ambulance, Non-conveyance, Alternate route of care
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci > Department of Targeted Intervention
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10115694
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