Differences Between Urgent and Non Urgent Patients in the Paediatric Emergency Department: A 240,000 Visits’ Analysis

  • João Viana
  • Almeida Santos
  • Alberto Freitas
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 745)


The volume of non urgent attenders in the emergency department has been a problem in the Emergency Department for several decades leading to overcrowding, unnecessary exposure to the hospital environment and unnecessary costs to the National Health System. This study aims to search for differences between urgent and non urgent patients. Considering information available at the time of admission, this study identifies referrals and previous visits within 24 h as a deterrent for non urgent visits. The further away the patient lives from the paediatric emergency department the less likely is for him to be admitted as a non urgent visit. This study also identifies Ophthalmology and Stomatology as the discharge physician’s specialities that are more likely to receive a non urgent visit. The cost of non urgent visits ascends to 2,500,000€ per year in this paediatric emergency department alone. This burden would be greatly reduced by profiling these patients and implementing measures for them to find alternative and more appropriate means of health care.


Performance Indicators Paediatrics Emergency department Children Non urgent 



Project NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000016 (NanoSTIMA) is financed by the North Portugal Regional Operational Programme (NORTE 2020), under the PORTUGAL 2020 Partnership Agreement, and through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MEDCIDS – Department of Community Medicine, Information and Health Decision SciencesFaculty of Medicine of the University of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.CINTESIS – Centre for Health Technology and Services ResearchPortoPortugal
  3. 3.São João Hospital CentrePortoPortugal

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