Print version ISSN 0120-4157
GONZALEZ, Germán et al. Perceived urgency of medical condition and use of health care services in Medellín, Colombia, 2005-2006. Biomédica [online]. 2007, vol.27, n.2, pp. 180-189. ISSN 0120-4157.
Introduction. Medellín has a population of 2.1 million and has 47 acute care hospitals that provide emergency health care services. Perceived seriousness of a medical condition in addition to accessibility and availability of care may influence the use of health care services in the region. Objectives. A broad-spectrum survey was conducted to rate the urgency of a health condition as perceived by the patient and how that patient proceeded to make use of health care services. Materials and methods. The cross sectional survey was conducted, using door-to-door personal interviews in 1,442 homes from 70 neighborhoods. Results. Of the 612,689 individuals interviewed, 533,718 (87,11%) reported that they have had a medical emergency. Respiratory difficulties" weres the most frequent reason for visiting a health care facility as reported by 113,153 (21.2%) of the participants. Of the 532,718 visits reported, 501,558 (93.97%) led to a hospital admission. Of the 21,042 visits not leading to an admission, 42.0% were considered as non-urgent by the hospital staff. Visits admissions reported were missing 11.118 (2.08%). Conclusions. In Medellín, the incidence of medical emergencies leading to a health care facility visit is high. The high prevalence of respiratory emergencies and other conditions that can be managed outside the emergency service indicates the need for a pre-hospital emergency service.
Keywords : Morbidity; morbidity surveys; health services accessibility; population studies in public health; referral, and consultation.