Objectives A return visit (RV) to the emergency department (ED) is usually used as a quality indicator for EDs. A thorough comprehension of factors affecting RVs is beneficial to enhancing the quality of emergency care. We performed this study to identify pediatric patients at high risk of RVs using readily available characteristics during an ED visit. Methods We retrospectively collected data of pediatric patients visiting 6 branches of an urban hospital during 2007. Potential variables were analyzed using a multivariable logistic regression analysis to determine factors associated with RVs and a classification and regression tree technique to identify high-risk groups. Results Of the 35,435 visits from which patients were discharged home, 2291 (6.47%) visits incurred an RV within 72 hours. On multivariable analysis, younger age, weekday visits, diagnoses belonging to the category of symptoms, signs, and ill-defined conditions, and being seen by a female physician were associated with a higher probability of RVs. Children younger than 6.5 years who visited on weekdays or between midnight and 8:00 am on weekends or holidays had the highest probability of returning to the ED within 72 hours. Conclusions Our study reexamined several important factors that could affect RVs of pediatric patients to the ED and identified high-risk groups of RVs. Further intervention studies or qualitative research could be targeted on these at-risk groups.
- classification and regression tree
- health services
- return visits