This study explores the impact of economic hazard areas on hospital-based emergency departments to determine whether economically hazardous environments, characterized by the change of population, income per capita, and unemployment rate, experience a higher number of emergency room visits than areas of lower rated economic hazard risk in the United States.
A cross-sectional design was used of a nationally constructed data set of hospital-based emergency departments of over 6,000 hospitals in the United States. We identified our quality outcome measure as the emergency room visits rate within a hospital service area. We created the variable by dividing the number of emergency room visits by the population of the hospital services area in which the emergency room was located.
Results indicate that there is a difference in the incident rate ratio of emergency room visits between environments considered to be experiencing greater amounts of hazard, compared to lower amounts of hazard.
Hospital administrators and health policy-makers need to work in conjunction to focus efforts on public safety as a key objective in the delivery of emergency medical care. One crucial effort that hospital administrators need to focus on is improving emergency room capacity and efficiency as part of the disaster preparedness plan (
Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2019;13:470-475)