Patient adherence with emergency department referral to a cardiovascular evaluation and risk assessment clinic.
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OBJECTIVE: Patient adherence with emergency department (ED) referral has not been well studied in Canada, and there are no Canadian studies assessing patient follow-up for evaluation of cardiovascular disease. Our primary objective was to determine the proportion of patients who adhered with an ED referral to a cardiac evaluation and risk assessment (CERA) clinic in Calgary, Alta. Secondary objectives included determining the final diagnoses and outcomes for patients attending CERA appointments. We also assessed the association between adherence and various system and patient factors. METHODS: A retrospective review of 385 patients who were referred to CERA from EDs in the study region between June 1, 2004, and Apr. 7, 2005, was performed. Hospital charts and the database at the medical examiner's office were reviewed for patients who did not attend their CERA appointment. RESULTS: The majority of patients (345/385, 89.6%) followed through with their referral to CERA. No deaths were identified from hospital records or from the medical examiner's office for nonadherent patients. Of the 315 patients who completed their follow-up, 225 (71.4%) were diagnosed with noncardiac or low-risk cardiac disease, whereas 90 (28.6%) were diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. The referring hospital was the only variable significantly associated with adherence with the referral (p=0.004). CONCLUSION: The great majority of patients referred to CERA from Calgary EDs were adherent with the referral. Future studies may identify factors impairing adherence that are amenable to intervention. Implementation of a referral model similar to the one used by CERA may improve adherence with attendance at other outpatient clinics.
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