Observation units: boom or bust for emergency medicine

J Emerg Med. 1990 Jul-Aug;8(4):485-90. doi: 10.1016/0736-4679(90)90180-4.


Observation units (OBS) are becoming a common addition to the emergency department. The diagnostic and socioeconomic categories of patients admitted to the OBS unit resemble those seen in the emergency department. There are many advantages and disadvantages in establishing such a unit. Although OBS units provide improved patient care, current difficulties in reimbursement may delay their widespread acceptance.

MeSH terms

  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Decision Making
  • Emergency Medical Services / standards*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Hospital Design and Construction
  • Hospital Units* / economics
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health, Reimbursement
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care