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Rates of Hospital Emergency Department Use Greater Among Women and Low-Income, Older, and Rural Americans

AHRQ News and Numbers, November 18, 2010

AHRQ News and Numbers provides statistical highlights on the use and cost of health services and health insurance in the United States.

Americans age 18 and older made over 98 million trips to hospital emergency departments in 2008 for problems ranging from broken bones to heart attacks, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). This represents 78 percent of the overall nearly 125 million visits that year.

AHRQ also found that injuries and abdominal pain were among the most frequent acute conditions seen in hospital emergency departments, while heart problems and diabetes were among the chronic conditions most commonly seen.

The Federal agency's analysis also found that rates of emergency department visits were:

  • 90 percent higher for Americans living in low-income areas compared to those living in the highest income areas (544 visits versus 287 visits per 1,000 adults).
  • 24 percent higher for Americans age 65 and older compared to those ages 18 to 44 (550 visits versus 444 visits per 1,000 adults in each age group).
  • 39 percent higher for Americans living in rural areas compared to those living in urban areas (515 visits versus 372 visits per 1,000 adults).
  • 26 percent higher for women than for men (477 visits versus 378 visits per 1,000 women and men, respectively).

This AHRQ News and Numbers is based on data in Emergency Department Visits for Adults in Community Hospitals, 2008. The report uses statistics from the 2008 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, a new AHRQ database that is nationally representative of emergency department visits in short-term, community non-Federal hospitals. The Nationwide Emergency Department Sample contains 26 million records from emergency department visits from approximately 1,000 hospitals nationwide. This represents 20 percent of all U.S. hospital emergency departments.

For more information, contact Bob Isquith at bob.isquith@ahrq.hhs.gov (301-427-1539).

Current as of November 2010
Internet Citation: Rates of Hospital Emergency Department Use Greater Among Women and Low-Income, Older, and Rural Americans: AHRQ News and Numbers, November 18, 2010. November 2010. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/news/newsroom/news-and-numbers/111810.html

 

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.

 

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