Emergency Department Visits Increase in Transition-Age Patients Empaneled in a Primary Care Network at a Major Academic Medical Center

Kanwarabijit Thind, Jack Wiedrick, Sydney Walker, Reem Hasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The aim of this study is to identify important predictors of emergency department (ED) utilization within a population of transition-aged patients empaneled within a primary care network, particularly with high-risk chronic conditions of childhood (HRC). Methods: We analyzed cross-sectional data of patients aged 12–29 within a primary care network (n = 19,989). We used negative binomial regression modeling to identify important predictors of ED visits in the last year. Results: Nearly 10% (n = 1,975) of the patients had one or more identified HRCs. Our final adjusted model showed that, among others, age 18–23 years (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 1.94, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.74–2.15), presence of a high-risk condition (IRR 1.74, 95% CI 1.54–1.96]), transfer between two primary care providers in system (IRR 1.43, 95% CI 1.18–1.72), presence of care manager (IRR 2.19, 95% CI 1.68–1.72), and public insurance status (IRR 2.85, 95% CI 2.62–3.10) were all independent predictors of higher ED utilization. Conditions associated with a high incidence of ED utilization included sickle cell anemia (IRR 5.41, 95% CI 2.78–10.54), history of transplant (IRR 2.53, 95% CI 1.11–5.80), type 1 diabetes (IRR 2.12, 95% CI 1.42–3.15), and seizure disorder (IRR 2.01, 95% CI 1.61–2.51). We estimated that for each added chronic condition, the IRR increased 1.23-fold (95% CI 1.00–1.51). Conclusions: Our results demonstrate significantly greater use of high-cost healthcare services for patients in the 18- to 23-year age group and for patients with multiple complex medical conditions. These findings prompt a call for systems-wide processes to improve the pediatric-to-adult transition process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-82
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Adolescent health and medicine
  • Chronic conditions of childhood
  • Emergency medicine
  • Health disparities
  • Health systems and health services research
  • Healthcare transition
  • Primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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