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Exploring the measure of potentially avoidable general practitioner-type presentations to the emergency department in regional Queensland using linked, patient-perspective data

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Version 2 2021-04-22, 04:19
Version 1 2020-12-17, 02:45
journal contribution
posted on 2021-04-22, 04:19 authored by M O'Loughlin, Jane MillsJane Mills, R McDermott, LR Harriss
© 2020 Journal Compilation Objective: To explore measures of potentially avoidable general practitioner (PAGP)-type presentations to the emergency department (ED) of a large regional hospital in northern Queensland. Methods: Linkage of an ED administrative dataset to a face-to-face patient survey of local residents (n = 1000); calculation of Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and Australasian College of Emergency Medicine (ACEM) measures of PAGP-type presentations to the ED; and exploration of these measures with patient-perspective linked data. Results: PAGP-type presenters to the ED were younger in age (median age in years: total cohort: 49; AIHW 38, P < 0.001; ACEM 36, P < 0.001); with the odds of having a chronic condition being less likely for AIHW PAGP-type presenters than other ED presenters (OR (95% CI) 0.54 (0.38-0.77): P = 0.001)) after adjustment for age. PAGP-type presenters nominated reasons of convenience rather than urgency as their rationale for attending the ED, irrespective of measure. The number of PAGP-type presentations to the ED identified by the AIHW measure was more than three-fold higher than the ACEM measure (AIHW: n = 227; ACEM: n = 67). Influencing factors include the low proportion of ED attendees who had a medical consultation time of <1 h at this hospital site (1-month survey period: 17.8%); and differences between the patient self-report and ED administrative record for 'self-referral to the ED' (Self-referred: Survey 71% vs EDIS 93%, P < 0.001). Conclusions: Identification of PAGP-type presentations to the ED could be enhanced with improvements to the quality of administrative processes when recording patient 'self-referral to the ED', along with further consideration of hospital site variation for the length of medical consultation time. What is known about the topic?: PAGP-type presentations to the ED are an Australian National Healthcare Agreement progress indicator. Methods of measuring this indicator have been under review since 2012 and debate remains on how to accurately determine the measure. What does this paper add?: By using patient perspective-linked data to explore different measures of PAGP-type presentations to EDs, this paper identifies issues with measure elements and suggests ways to improve these measures. What are the implications for practitioners?: Measure elements of patient 'self-referral to the ED' and 'medical consultation time' require further consideration if they are to be used to measure PAGP-type presentations to the ED.


This present research was conducted with the support of the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM), James Cook University, Australia and an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship; but did not receive any specific funding. The original P3ED study was funded by Far North Queensland Medicare Local and the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service. The authors thank members of the original P3ED study team; members of the original FNQHAT study team; and patients and staff of the Cairns Hospital for their support of this project.


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Australian Health Review






7p. (p.90-96)


CSIRO Publishing



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