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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


ARANAZ ANDRES, Jesús M et al. Why do patients use hospital emergency services on their own initiative?. Gac Sanit [online]. 2006, vol.20, n.4, pp.311-315. ISSN 0213-9111.

Introduction: The aim of this study was to determine the reasons why patients use hospital emergency services (HES) on their own initiative and the characteristics of these users. Method: An ad hoc questionnaire was designed and applied by consecutive selection to patients who could have waited for medical care (level 1 triage) over a 1-week period in November 2002. Results: A total of 348 patients completed the questionnaire; 82.5% attended on their own initiative; of these, 17.7% reported they did not know how Primary Care worked in relation to the Emergency Services; 18.8% consulted a Primary Care physician; 55.0% preferred the HES and 13.5% attended because of a delay in another health care setting. Half the patients (50.5%) were younger than 40 years old and 9.2% were foreigners. Conclusions: Changes in health services' consumption patterns could jeopardize the public health system unless supply is adapted to the demand expressed and/or interventions are performed to educate the public in rational health services' consumption.

Keywords : Emergency Services; Needs Demands; Health Services.

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