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|Title:||Inappropriate Use of Emergency Medical Services in Ontario|
|Authors:||DeJean, Deirdre A.|
|Department:||Health Research Methodology|
|Keywords:||Emergency Medical Services;Paramedicine;Health Services Research;Health Services Research|
|Abstract:||<p>Inappropriate ambulance use can be defined broadly as the use of emergency medical services (EMS) transport for non-urgent medical conditions, or when the patient does not use alternate transportation available. It drains health system resources, contributes to low morale among paramedics, and can delay care for patients who may be appropriately treated in alternative settings. An increasing number of studies indicate <em>that</em> inappropriate EMS use occurs, but few studies investigate how perspectives of inappropriate use are constructed. This study explores the construct of appropriateness in the context of ambulance use, and examines the implications of varying perspectives on ambulance billing policies.</p> <p>We present a grounded theory on the construct of appropriate ambulance use from interviews with paramedics in Ontario, national media reports and online reader commentary. Findings show that the role of paramedics varies across regions, and includes various types of care (e.g., emergency response, primary care and preventative care), and transportation (e.g., to the emergency department or urgent care clinics). In turn, constructs of appropriateness vary. In ambiguous cases, paramedics use their perception of the patients’ ability or attempts to cope with the medical situation to evaluate the appropriateness of ambulance use. Unexpectedly, the most frustrating cases of inappropriate ambulance use tend to be initiated by organizations, such as long-term care facilities, rather than members of the general public. These findings raise questions about the potential for ambulance user fees conditional on ‘appropriateness’ to improve either the effectiveness or the efficiency of ambulance services.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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