By measuring increased driving time to the nearest emergency department (ED), this study examines ED access and adverse patient outcomes or changes in patient health profiles. Using acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients, the study looks at whether increased driving time to the nearest ED results in higher mortality rates among AMI patients and results in health profile changes in AMI patients arriving alive in the hospital.
Using data from the American Hospital Association annual survey and each patient’s ZIP code, driving time between each patient to the nearest ED was calculated. The study included 150,000 patients per year from 1996 to 2005.
This article discusses important issues regarding resource allocation of the emergency care system, however, further attention is needed to best allocate health care resources among emergency care.