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Are testers also admitters? Comparing emergency physician resource utilization and admitting practices

      Abstract

      Objective

      To describe the relationship between emergency department resource utilization and admission rate at the level of the individual physician.

      Methods

      Retrospective observational study of physician resource utilization and admitting data at two emergency departments. We calculated observed to expected (O/E) ratios for four measures of resource utilization (intravenous medications and fluids, laboratory testing, plain radiographs, and advanced imaging studies) as well as for admission rate. Expected values reflect adjustment for patient- and time-based variables. We compared O/E ratios for each type of resource utilization to the O/E ratio for admission for each provider. We report degree of correlation (slope of the trendline) and strength of correlation (adjusted R2 value) for each association, as well as categorical results after clustering physicians based on the relationship of resource utilization to admission rate.

      Results

      There were statistically significant positive correlations between resource utilization and physician admission rate. Physicians with lower resource utilization rates were more likely to have lower admission rates, and those with higher resource utilization rates were more likely to have higher admission rates.

      Conclusions

      In a two-facility study, emergency physician resource utilization and admission rate were positively correlated: those who used more ED resources also tended to admit more patients. These results add to a growing understanding of emergency physician variability.

      Keywords

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