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Revista de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0124-0064

Abstract

VALENCIA- SIERRA, Marta L. et al. Access to medical emergency services in Medellín during 2006 . Rev. salud pública [online]. 2007, vol.9, n.4, pp.529-540. ISSN 0124-0064.

Objectives Describing access to and availability of emergency medical assistance in Medellín in 2006. Materials and Methods This was a descriptive survey-based study conducted in 27 emergency services from institutions providing tertiary, secondary and primary level health care services carried out over one full week. All patients participating in the survey were followed-up from being admitted to the emergency department to being discharged. The following parameters were described: a patient's characteristics, waiting time, presence of trauma, previous emergency department visit during the previous 48 hours for the same condition, transfer and discharge. The reasons for non-admission were studied in the case of patients who were not admitted by the emergency service. Results 8 703 (89,4 %) out of the 9 730 patients attending the emergency department were then admitted; 13,8 % had visited an emergency department during the previous 48 hours for the same condition and 10,5 % were early transfers. The highest mean waiting time observed for primary level was 40,2 minutes. Reasons for non-admission for the 1 027 non-admitted patients (10,6 %) included hospital staff classifying a case as not being an emergency (62,6 %) and lack of social security service coverage (16 %). Conclusions Barriers were found to emergency service access in Medellín. Inadequate access according to the type of emergency and its seriousness and deficient coordination of attention levels support the need for an emergency network in the city.

Keywords : Emergency; emergency medical service; health service accessibility; hospital emergency service; health service research.

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