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J Korean Soc Emerg Med > Volume 30(6); 2019 > Article
Journal of The Korean Society of Emergency Medicine 2019;30(6): 584-592.
The effect of change in medical care protocol for primary headache patients visiting the emergency medical center
Seong You Lee , Sang Won Seo , Jang Young Lee , Won Suk Lee , Won Young Sung
Department of Emergency Medicine, Eulji University College of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea
Correspondence  Sang Won Seo ,Tel: 042-611-3256, Fax: 042-611-3880, Email: dockpung@eulji.ac.kr,
Received: May 31, 2019; Revised: September 13, 2019   Accepted: September 18, 2019.  Published online: December 31, 2019.
University hospitals nationwide are experiencing a shortage of neurology residents and excessive workloads; new measures are required because a lack of neurologists in the emergency department (ED) leads to ED overcrowding. This study examined the effects of emergency medicine doctors taking over the role of neurologists in the treatment of primary headache patients visiting the ED.
A study group of primary headache patients, who visited a single university hospital ED between 1 June and 31 October 2017 and were treated by an emergency medical doctor, was selected. The control group consisted of patients who met the same conditions as the study group and visited the ED during the same period in 2016 but were treated by a neurologist. The following variables between the two groups were compared: length of stay in the ED, medical expenses in the ED, and the time taken to decide on neuroimaging tests.
This study was conducted on 300 patients in the control group and 94 patients in the study group. The study group showed a shorter time to decide on neuroimaging tests (64.4%, 95% confidence interval [CI], P<0.001), shorter length of stay in the ED (15.2%, 95% CI, P<0.001), and lower medical expenses (12.8%, 95% CI, P=0.011).
When emergency medicine doctors take over the neurologic medical care of primary headache patients in ED, it can be expected to reduce ED overcrowding and medical expenses.
Key words: Neurology; Emergency medicine; Emergency department overcrowding
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