This mixed methods research study provides an analysis of patients' psychological and practical reasons for attending the Cairns Hospital (CH) Emergency Department (ED). The research had four main aims: to provide an analysis of current and recent trends in utilisation of the CH ED; to estimate the rate of GP-type patients presenting to the CH ED; to identify the psychological and practical reasons for people attending the CH ED; and to consider alternative models of care to potentially reduce presentations to the ED.
The research dataset has multiple parts. Firstly, survey data form study participants, defined as consenting patients presenting to the Cairns Hospital Emergency Department from 13 March - 11 April 2014. Those patients that consented to participate in the survey had a 52 item survey instrument administered via iPads, with the assistance of research assistants (who were 3rd/4th year nursing students and 4th/5th/6th year medical students).
Secondly, focus groups were held post ED presentation. At the time of the iPad survey within the CH ED, participants were asked if they would leave their contact details for follow up to participate in focus groups. Focus groups were held in April-May 2014 at Smithfield, Cairns North, and Edmonton Community Health Centres. There were 16 focus group participants in total.
Thirdly, Emergency Department Information System data from 2010-2014, including the period of the survey administration. This data provided a range of data items for all ED presentations over the period, notably age, gender, postcode, triage category, length of stay, mode of arrival, referral status, ICD code. For the one month survey period the EDIS data was matched to the survey data via Medical Record Number (MRNs). MRNs were collected in a log casebook at the time of the iPad survey and were later matched to the MRNs provided with the EDIS data for the survey month only. This created a fourth dataset - a matched dataset of EDIS and survey data for survey participants only for the period 13 March - 11 April 2014.