Risk of death within 7 days of discharge from emergency departments with different organizational models

Eur J Emerg Med. 2020 Feb;27(1):27-32. doi: 10.1097/MEJ.0000000000000596.


Objective: The aim of this study is to investigate the association between emergency department (ED) organizational models and the risk of death within 7 days of ED discharge.

Patients and methods: We included Danish ED discharges between 1 January 2011 and 24 December 2014 that led to death within 7 days of discharge. The inclusion criterion was age older than 18 years. The exclusion criterion was further in-hospital admission. First model (Virtual): other departments employ interns who perform ED tasks. They are responsible for ED patient care and prioritize their task order between their own department and the ED. Second model (Hybrid): the ED/other departments perform tasks; interns/consultants are employed by the ED/other departments. The ED/other departments have patient care responsibility. Third model (Independent): the ED performs all tasks; employs interns/consultants; and have patient care responsibility. Sex, age, Charlson Comorbidity Index score, and primary diagnosis were used to describe patient characteristics. We calculated the risk of death within 7 days of discharge using multiple logistic regression analysis.

Results: In 805 out of 201 299 discharges included in the study, the patient died within 7 days. Compared with the Virtual model, the odds ratio for death within 7 days of discharge was 0.72 (95% confidence interval: 0.59-0.92) for the Independent model and 0.75 (95% confidence interval: 0.61-0.92) for the Hybrid+Virtual model. Increased risk was associated with male sex, older age, and a medium or a high Charlson Comorbidity Index score.

Conclusion: Compared with discharges from a Virtual model, the risk of death within 7 days of discharge was lower if the ED had an Independent or a Hybrid+Virtual model.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Organizational*
  • Mortality*
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors