Why not your pediatrician's office? A study of weekday pediatric emergency department use for minor illness care in a community hospital

Pediatr Emerg Care. 1988 Jun;4(2):107-11. doi: 10.1097/00006565-198806000-00005.


To determine the rationale for using a community hospital's emergency department for minor illness care on weekdays, we surveyed 150 parents of children 15 years of age or younger. Fifty (33.3%) participants had no identified source of routine pediatric care, and 31 (20.7%) had pediatric providers not locally available. For participants with local providers, major reasons for use of the emergency department included economic factors, parental knowledge, parent/provider communication, convenience, and insurance coverage. The results of this study demonstrate that the utilization pattern and sociodemographic profile of children seen in our emergency department on weekdays is more characteristic of an inner-city hospital than of a non-metropolitan setting. There are a number of feasible measures which could improve access to routine pediatric care for low socioeconomic families and reduce unnecessary emergency department utilization.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Services Misuse*
  • Health Services*
  • Hospitals, Community*
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health, Reimbursement
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Primary Health Care / trends*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors