Background. The overcrowding of Emergency Departments (EDs) represents a major concern in Italy. Frequent users (FUs) contribute to overcrowding, wasting health care resources. Objective. To describe the characteristics of FUs and to evaluate the reliability of the ED information systems. Design. An observational single-centre retrospective study.Methods. A quali-quantitative analysis of medical records from FU admissions to the ED in a 15-month period at a Teaching Hospital in Italy.
Results. 1,766 FUs accessed the ED, totalizing 11,842 admissions. The green and white codes were the most frequent ones (n=9,065; 76.5%). Acute conditions prevailed among the reasons for admission. The qualitative analysis showed that FUs were mainly burdened with chronic conditions and highlighted the role of the ED in managing them. Discussion. FUs suffer from mltiple and chronic conditions, which are not captured by the ED’s information system.Conclusions. The adoption of a patient-centred approach oriented towards chronic conditions could result in richer information and better management of FUs.
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