The Implications of Transfer to an Acute Care Surgical Tertiary Service

Am Surg. 2017 Dec 1;83(12):1422-1426.


Tertiary hospitals are increasingly called on by smaller hospitals and free-standing emergency rooms (ERs) to provide surgical care for complex patients. This study assesses patients transferred to an acute care surgery service. The ER and transfer center logs, as well as billing data, were reviewed for 12 months for all cases evaluated by acute care surgery. The charts were reviewed for demographics, comorbidities, and outcomes. A total of 111 transferred patients with complete data were identified, with 59 transferred from another hospital and 52 from a free-standing ER. The hospital transfer patients were older with more comorbidities, had a longer length of stay, and were more likely discharged to skilled care. There was no difference in the percent of patients requiring a procedure; however, significantly more procedures in the hospital transfer group were done by nonsurgical specialties Better infrastructure to monitor the impact of hospital transfers is warranted in the setting of the complex patient population transferred to tertiary hospitals.

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Transfer*
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative*
  • Tertiary Healthcare*