Planning for the future: emergency department presentation patterns in Tasmania, Australia
Background: Emergency department crowding and associated adverse outcomes are major issues in health care systems worldwide. The Australian government has highlighted the need to analyse emergency presentations to inform system redesign.
Objective: To describe the profile of emergency department presentations by Tasmanian residents to emergency departments over four years, and examine regional variations.
Method: A retrospective analysis of emergency department data for Tasmania’s public hospitals over four financial years, 2010-11 to 2013-14, was undertaken. Descriptive statistics were used to identify patterns in Tasmanian state-wide emergency presentations, as well as disparities between Tasmania’s three regions (South, North and North-West). Regression analysis was undertaken to test if changes were significant.
Results: State-wide presentations increased by 3.4% (139,352 to 144,130) over the four years. Regional variations included an increase in presentations of 16% in the South, 5.1% in the North and a decrease of 3.9% in the North-West. Per capita presentations were consistently lowest in the South and highest in the North-West. The South recorded a significant increase in per capita presentations of those aged 75 and over (p = 0.001), increasing at a rate of 12.5 per 1,000 residents per annum (95% CI 5.8 – 19.2).
Conclusion: There is regional variation in emergency demand and utilisation in Tasmania. The results indicate that recent increases are predominantly occurring in the South, including in the elderly, and the reasons for this warrant further investigation.
Publication titleInternational Emergency Nursing
Department/SchoolSchool of Nursing
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
Rights statementCopyright 2017 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/