Emergency department use at two Hamilton hospitals.
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This report compares emergency department use at two urban Hamilton hospitals. One mainly serves lower socioeconomic and industrial groups and the other predominantly suburban residents. Although the groups served are different, the patterns of use at both hospitals were found to be similar. Over one third of visits at both are classified as nonurgent. The urban industrial hospital has higher proportions of visits that are nonurgent, by men and due to trauma. However, other parameters such as arrival time, use of ambulance, proportion admitted, percentage of emergencies, percentage of repeat visits, use of radiology and laboratory facilities and proportions of visits in different categories of presenting complaint were similar at the two hospitals. Similarities in use patterns may be due to universal health insurance, for 90% of users have medical insurance and have family doctors.
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