Trends in Regionalization of Care for ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction
Hisa, Renee Y.
Rokos, Ivan C.
Brown, John F.
Brindis, Ralph G.
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Introduction California has led successful regionalized efforts for several time-critical medical conditions, including ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), but no specific mandated protocols exist to define regionalization of care. We aimed to study the trends in regionalization of care for STEMI patients in the state of California and to examine the differences in patient demographic, hospital, and county trends. Methods Using survey responses collected from all California emergency medical services (EMS) agencies, we developed four categories – no, partial, substantial, and complete regionalization – to capture prehospital and inter-hospital components of regionalization in each EMS agency’s jurisdiction between 2005–2014. We linked the survey responses to 2006 California non-public hospital discharge data to study the patient distribution at baseline. Results STEMI regionalization-of-care networks steadily developed across California. Only 14% of counties were regionalized in 2006, accounting for 42% of California’s STEMI patient population, but over half of these counties, representing 86% of California’s STEMI patient population, reached complete regionalization in 2014. We did not find any dramatic differences in underlying patient characteristics based on regionalization status; however, differences in hospital characteristics were relatively substantial. Conclusion Potential barriers to achieving regionalization included competition, hospital ownership, population density, and financial challenges. Minimal differences in patient characteristics can establish that patient differences unlikely played any role in influencing earlier or later regionalization and can provide a framework for future analyses evaluating the impact of regionalization on patient outcomes.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.5811/westjem.2017.8.34592
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