Adjacent Primary Care May Reduce Less Urgent Pediatric Emergency Department Visits

Julia Ellbrant, Jonas Åkeson, Helena Sletten, Jenny Eckner, Pia Karlsland Åkeson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: Pediatric emergency department (ED) overcrowding is a challenge. This study was designed to evaluate if a hospital-integrated primary care unit (HPCU) reduces less urgent visits at a pediatric ED. Methods: This retrospective cross-sectional study was carried out at a university hospital in Sweden, where the HPCU, open outside office hours, had been integrated next to the ED. Children seeking ED care during 4-week high- and low-load study periods before (2012) and after (2015) implementation of the HPCU were included. Information on patient characteristics, ED management, and length of ED stay was obtained from hospital data registers. Results: In total, 3216 and 3074 ED patient visits were recorded in 2012 and 2015, respectively. During opening hours of the HPCU, the proportions of pediatric ED visits (28% lower; P <.001), visits in the lowest triage group (36% lower; P <.001), patients presenting with fever (P =.001) or ear pain (P <.001), and nonadmitted ED patients (P =.033), were significantly lower in 2015 than in 2012, whereas the proportion of infants ≤3 months was higher in 2015 (P <.001). Conclusions: By enabling adjacent management of less urgent pediatric patients at adequate lower levels of medical care, implementation of a HPCU outside office hours may contribute to fewer and more appropriate pediatric ED visits.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Primary Care and Community Health
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Anesthesiology and Intensive Care

Free keywords

  • children
  • emergency medical service
  • pediatrics
  • primary care
  • triage
  • urgency


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