Study: Nearly 50% of US medical care occurs in EDs

Emergency departments delivered 47.7 percent of all medical care in the United States between 1996 and 2010, according to a study published in the International Journal of Health Services.

For the study, researchers examined the number of inpatient, outpatient and ED visits compiled in the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Hospital Discharge Survey databases from 1996 through 2010.

Nearly 130 million ED visits, 101 million outpatient visits and 39 million inpatient visits occurred in 2010. Additionally, the number of ED visits increased by almost 44 percent over the 14-year study period. 

"I was stunned by the results," said David Marcozzi, MD, an associate professor in the department of emergency medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. "This research underscores the fact that emergency departments are critical to our nation's healthcare delivery system. Patients seek care in emergency departments for many reasons. The data might suggest that emergency care provides the type of care that individuals actually want or need, 24 hours a day."

More articles on EDs: 
MidHudson Regional Hospital ED nurses receive government recognition 
Mississippi hospital will charge $200 upfront fee for nonurgent ED visits
Physician starts petition calling for LifePoint to renovate Virginia hospital's ED

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