Authors: Alexei Bernikov MD, Christine Kennedy BN, Mirna Ragheb BN, Asha Kothari BSc (Hons), Alexander Singer MB BAO BCh
Three emergency departments (EDs) in Winnipeg, Manitoba were recently converted to urgent care centres (UCCs). This study sought to understand the effects of conversion from a traditional ED to UCC on the types and severities of medical presentations to those health facilities. This study also sought to compare complaint presentations between all UCCs and EDs as well as compare each UCC to its associated ED. This was a retrospective chart review of presenting complaints at Seven Oaks General Hospital (SOGH), Concordia Hospital (COH), and Victoria General Hospital (VGH) three months prior to and three months following the transition to UCC. Pearson’s chi-squared test and t-test were used to describe and compare changes in presenting complaints and their acuity. A significant decrease in CTAS score acuity was observed at SOGH (9 vs. 3 for CTAS 1 and 2 patients, p = 0.045). There was no significant change in CTAS scores at VGH and COH (p > 0.05). There was a significant increase in ear, nose, and throat complaints at VGH UCC compared to VGH ED (1% vs. 7.9%, p = 0.0208) and in skin-related complaints at SOGH UCC compared to SOGH ED (9.4% vs 26.8%, p = 0.0093). There was a decrease in gastrointestinal complaints at VGH UCC since converting from an ED (19.4% vs. 9.0%, p = 0.0434). There were no statistically significant changes in presenting complaints at COH UCC. This study could form the basis of a larger study to examine how patient complaints have changed at Winnipeg’s three UCCs. Future research should focus on patient education, administrative considerations, and creating acuity goals for UCCs and EDs.
Keywords: emergency medicine, urgent care, medical systems