The Relative Contribution of Provider and ED-Level Factors to Variation Among the Top 15 Reasons for ED Admission
Objective. We examine adult emergency department (ED) admission rates for the top 15 most frequently admitted conditions, and assess the relative contribution in admission rate variation attributable to the provider and hospital.
Methods. This was a retrospective, cross-sectional study of ED encounters (≥ 18 years) from 19 EDs and 603 providers (January 2012–December 2013), linked to the Area Health Resources File for county-level information on healthcare resources. “Hospital admission” was the outcome, a composite of inpatient, observation, or intra-hospital transfer. We studied the 15 most commonly admitted conditions, and calculated condition-specific risk-standardized hospital admission rates (RSARs) using multi-level hierarchical generalized linear models. We then decomposed the relative contribution of provider-level and hospital-level variation for each condition.
Results. The top 15 conditions made up 34% of encounters and 49% of admissions. After adjustment, the eight conditions with the highest hospital-level variation were: 1) injuries, 2) extremity fracture (except hip fracture), 3) skin infection, 4) lower respiratory disease, 5) asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (A&C), 6) abdominal pain, 7) fluid/electrolyte disorders, and 8) chest pain. Hospital-level intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC) ranged from 0.042 for A&C to 0.167 for extremity fractures. Provider-level ICCs ranged from 0.026 for abdominal pain to 0.104 for chest pain. Several patient, hospital, and community factors were associated with admission rates, but these varied across conditions.
Conclusion. For different conditions, there were different contributions to variation at the hospital- and provider-level. These findings deserve consideration when designing interventions to optimize admission decisions and in value-based payment programs.