Objective: To describe the level of emergency department (ED) volumes according to the hospital characteristics and to identify the relationship between hospital capacity characteristics and ED volumes in Korea.
Method: A survey was conducted to acquire information on the ED, its' hospital (facility, personnel, equipment), and the number of ED patients, as part of the National Emergency Medical Centers Assessment Program. Data from 106 nation-wide LEMCs were used. Multiple regression analysis was performed to determine the hospital capacity characteristics related with ED volumes.
Results: The number of ED patients differed according to bed size, nurse staffing, residency training program, and the availability of emergency care-related equipment of the hospital. In the multiple regression analysis, the significant factors which explained the ED volumes were nurse staffing, inpatients per bed, and the population in the area where hospitals are located. The hospitals that were nurse staffing level 2, with more inpatients per bed and larger population of the service area, had more ED patients.
Conclusions: With the service area population, the ED volumes significantly related with nurse staffing and inpatients per bed. These could be used as one of criteria to designate a LEMC.