EDs see more patients leaving without care: study

Patients left emergency departments without being seen at record rates in 2021, according to a study published Sept. 30 in JAMA Network Open

Researchers affiliated with New Haven, Conn.-based Yale University and the Ann Arbor-based University of Michigan collected monthly "left without being seen" measures from the EHR vendor Epic. The study spanned 2017, when 365 hospital emergency departments reported this data in Epic, to 2021, when 1,769 hospitals reported. 

The rate of "left without being seen" patients steadily increased throughout 2021. In 2017, the median rate was 1.1 percent; in 2021, the rate had nearly doubled to 2.1 percent. 

The lower-performing hospitals saw an even steeper jump in patient leave rates. In January 2020, the leave rate was 4.4 percent. At the end of 2021, it was 10 percent. 

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