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How much outpatient care is provided for injuries?
  1. D Bishai1,
  2. A Gielen2
  1. 1Department of Population and Family Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, 615 N Wolfe St, Baltimore, MD 21030, USA
  2. 2Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins University
  1. Correspondence to:
 David Bishai


Objective—To estimate the average number of outpatient visits, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations for injured patients.

Methods—The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Household Component of 1996 is a weighted sample designed to represent the United States population. For each episode of injury the average number of office visits or outpatient contacts, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations were computed. Subsequently the ratio of outpatient to inpatient contacts for each type of injury was estimated.

Results—When asked to report on their medical problems for the previous six months, the majority of respondents who recalled injuries did not report contact with emergency departments or hospitalization. The average injury is associated with only 0.2 to 0.3 emergency department visits. Sports related injuries were associated with 0.03 hospitalizations. Gun related injuries were associated with 0.12 hospitalizations. All types of injury were related with more than one episode of outpatient or office based care. The ratio of emergency department visits and outpatient visits to hospitalizations varies according to the nature of the injury.

Conclusion—Policymakers interested in the cost of injury should account for the extensive outpatient utilization of injured patients.

  • injury pyramids
  • injury epidemiology
  • health services

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