Frequent use of emergency departments in Saudi public hospitals: implications for primary health care services

Asia Pac J Public Health. 2015 Mar;27(2):NP2521-30. doi: 10.1177/1010539511431603. Epub 2011 Dec 20.


This study aims to determine the prevalence, factors and reasons associated with the frequent use of public emergency departments (EDs) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The study employed a self-administered questionnaire to collect data from adult patients on aspects such as demographic characteristics, accessibility, and health-related factors. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to explore the issue. The results indicated that about 30% of respondents were considered as "frequent users" of the EDs. Males, older patients, those living closer to EDs, and patients who had chronic illnesses or were hospitalized in the past year were more likely to use EDs frequently. Moreover, the study found that patients who were labeled as "frequent users" of the EDs were also frequent users of "other" health care facilities. Health decision makers should facilitate primary health centers with necessary resources that fulfill the patients' health needs and reduce the burden on EDs.

Keywords: Saudi Arabia; emergency departments; factors; frequent use; prevalence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Public*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult