Patient absconding from emergency department and its financial burden: a study in a large public hospital, Tehran
10 February 2017
Background and Aims: Patient absconding is a major health issue with economic, social, and health costs and consequences. The present study aimed to investigate the absconding rate from a emergency department and its financial burden in a public hospital in Tehran, IRAN.
Materials and Methods: This retrospective and descriptive study was carried out in the emergency department of a large public and teaching hospital in Tehran. Data were collected using the absconded patient records from 23 September 2013 to 22 September 2014. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Concerns about medical ethics, including patient’s confidentiality and hospital name were observed at all stages of study.
Results: The results of this study indicate that 774 patients had left the hospital without permission or a notice to staff, so the absconding rate in this study was about 2.4 percent. Young, male, married and uninsured patients were more absconded. Average billing per absconded patient was 1,449,738 Iranian Rials (IRR). The hospital was consequently incurred financial losses amounted to 1,122,097,212 IRR as a result of patient
Conclusion: In order to preventing and reducing the abscond rate, the following strategies are recommended: the identification of high-risk patients for further care, regular monitoring of emergency departments, good communication and interaction with the patient and his family, introducing the discharge against medical advice (DAMA) policy to patients, accurate recording of patient information to reduce the risk of abscond or
access to him/her after the absconding.
Key words: Patient Absconding, Emergency Department, Retrospective Study