Studies on observation unit (OU) use to avoid a hospital admission from the emergency department (ED) have found variable effects on health care resource utilization, and these effects have not been studied in acute exacerbation of chronic obstruction pulmonary disease (AECOPD). We retrospectively collected data for all AECOPD-related ED visits (age > 40) to an urban, academic medical center between February 2013 and April 2017. We examined the total proportion of visits admitted to the hospital before and after availability of an OU and the proportion of visits discharged directly from the ED using segmented regression analysis. There was a 12.8% reduction in hospital admissions after OU availability (79.6 vs. 66.8%, p = 0.0049) without a change in the proportion discharged directly from the ED (p = 0.65). The availability of an OU can decrease hospital AECOPD admissions without affecting the number of patients discharged directly from the ED.
- Acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Clinical decision unit
- Emergency department
- Hospital admission
- Observation unit