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ICEM: More Patients May Leave EDs Than Previously Thought

'Left without being seen' rates double after installation of self-service registration kiosks

MONDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Busy emergency departments that install a self-service registration kiosk system may be able to keep more accurate track of the "left without being seen" rate, according to research presented this week at the 12th International Conference on Emergency Medicine in San Francisco.

Jamira T. Jones, M.D., of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues compared left without being seen rates before, during and after a self-service registration kiosk system was installed at a public urban academic emergency department with a mean census of 105,972 visits per year.

During the four months prior to and during the installation, the researchers found that left without being seen rates were 11.3 percent, 10.4 percent, 10.2 percent and 11.2 percent. During the three months after the implementation, the rates were 20.3 percent, 24.4 percent and 24.8 percent, despite no significant change in patient volume, they report.

"This data suggests that prior to the implementation of kiosks, many patients left without being seen prior to contact with a triage provider and were not tracked," the authors write. "Therefore, prior documented left without being seen rates, which only captured those patients who were initially triaged, were factitiously low."

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