Skip to main content

Overcrowding estimation in the emergency department: is the simplest score the best?

Introduction

Emergency department (ED) overcrowding is a major international problem with a negative impact on both patient care and providers. Among validated methods of measurement, emergency physicians have to choose between simple and complex scores [1, 2]. The aim of the present study was to compare the complex National Emergency Department Overcrowding Scale (NEDOCS) with the simple occupancy rate (OR) determination. We further evaluated the correlation between these scores and a qualitative assessment of crowding.

Methods

The study was conducted in two academic hospitals and one county hospital in Liège, Chênée and Verviers; each with an ED census of over 40,000 patient visits per year. Samplings occurred over a 2-week period in January 2011, with five sampling times each day.

Results

ED staffconsidered overcrowding as a major concern in the three EDs. Median OR ranged from 68 to 100, while the NEDOCS ranged from 64.5 to 76.3. We found a significant correlation between the OR and the NEDOCS (Pearson R = 0.973, 0.974 and 0.972), as well as between the OR, the NEDOCS and the subjective evaluation (P = 0.001).

Conclusion

Crowding evaluation in the ED requires validated, easy-touse, scores. Our study indicates that the simple OR is as accurate as the complex NEDOCS, allowing continuous crowding assessment.

References

  1. 1.

    Hwang U, McCarthy ML, Bernstein SL, et al.: Measures of crowding in the emergency department: a systematic review. Acad Emerg Med 2011, 18: 527-538. 10.1111/j.1553-2712.2011.01054.x

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Hoot NR, Zhou C, Jones I, Aronsky D: Measuring and forecasting emergency department crowding in real time. Ann Emerg Med 2007, 49: 747-755. 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2007.01.017

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to V Winkin.

Rights and permissions

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Winkin, V., Pinckaers, V., D'Orio, V. et al. Overcrowding estimation in the emergency department: is the simplest score the best?. Crit Care 17, P258 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1186/cc12196

Download citation

Keywords

  • Emergency Department
  • Patient Care
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Sampling Time
  • Subjective Evaluation