The aim of this study is to investigate the association between emergency department (ED) organizational models and the risk of death within 7 days of ED discharge.
Patients and methods
We included Danish ED discharges between 1 January 2011 and 24 December 2014 that led to death within 7 days of discharge. The inclusion criterion was age older than 18 years. The exclusion criterion was further in-hospital admission. First model (Virtual): other departments employ interns who perform ED tasks. They are responsible for ED patient care and prioritize their task order between their own department and the ED. Second model (Hybrid): the ED/other departments perform tasks; interns/consultants are employed by the ED/other departments. The ED/other departments have patient care responsibility. Third model (Independent): the ED performs all tasks; employs interns/consultants; and have patient care responsibility. Sex, age, Charlson Comorbidity Index score, and primary diagnosis were used to describe patient characteristics. We calculated the risk of death within 7 days of discharge using multiple logistic regression analysis.
In 805 out of 201 299 discharges included in the study, the patient died within 7 days. Compared with the Virtual model, the odds ratio for death within 7 days of discharge was 0.72 (95% confidence interval: 0.59–0.92) for the Independent model and 0.75 (95% confidence interval: 0.61–0.92) for the Hybrid+Virtual model. Increased risk was associated with male sex, older age, and a medium or a high Charlson Comorbidity Index score.
Compared with discharges from a Virtual model, the risk of death within 7 days of discharge was lower if the ED had an Independent or a Hybrid+Virtual model.