Minor traumatic injuries in the emergency department pre- and post-implementation of an emergency care access point

J Eval Clin Pract. 2023 Feb;29(1):32-38. doi: 10.1111/jep.13705. Epub 2022 May 22.


Objective: In the Netherlands, out-of-hours General Practice Cooperatives (GPCs) increasingly collaborate with Emergency Departments (EDs) to form an Emergency Care Access Point (ECAP). ECAPs aim to decrease the number of low-urgent ED attendances, of which many compromise minor traumatic injuries. In this study, we evaluated the impact of ECAP implementation on the incidence of minor traumatic injuries in the ED.

Methods: We evaluated a total of 2772 ED patients who presented with a minor traumatic injury (categorized into traumatic wounds and isolated extremity injuries) 1 year before and 1 year after ECAP implementation. We compared patient characteristics, throughput, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up before and after ECAP implementation.

Results: ECAP implementation was associated with a reduction in ED volume for minor traumatic injuries: -12.4% for isolated extremity injuries (1249 vs. 1094) and -74.6% for traumatic wounds (342 vs. 87). Multivariable logistic regression analysis controlling for patient characteristics showed that ECAP implementation was associated with higher rates of substantial injuries in the ED (OR 1.20, 95% CI = 1.01-1.43), and more patients requiring outpatient follow-up.

Conclusion: Implementation of an ECAP was associated with a reduction of ED utilization by patients with minor traumatic injuries, traumatic wounds in particular. This healthcare intervention may therefore help to reduce ED utilization for low-urgent complaints.

Keywords: crowding; emergency care access point; emergency department.

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Family Practice
  • General Practice*
  • Humans
  • Netherlands / epidemiology