This supplementary information is presented as submitted by the corresponding author. It has not been copy-edited by NTvG.
It is believed that ambulances are often dispatched with high urgency, while the patient could have been treated by primary care. Research into this subject is needed to strengthen collaboration between different healthcare providers in the acute care chain.
Our objective was to examine patient- and care characteristics of 112 emergency ambulance dispatches and to determine, in retrospect, which part of the patients could have been treated in primary care.
A cross-sectional retrospective study of 598 emergency ambulance dispatches after 112 calls at an ambulance service in the east of the Netherlands.
Retrospective patient record review was used to study patient- and care characteristics of 112 emergency ambulance dispatches. Three reviewers independently determined the required care (primary or secondary care) and this judgment was compared with the actual care given to the patient.
The mean age of the patients was 49.2 years and 53.3% of the patients were male. The most common probability diagnoses were unwellness (11.5%) and extremity trauma (11.2%). In retrospect, in 42.3% of the ambulance rides, the patient could have been treated in primary care. During office hours, more ambulance rides concerned primary care than out-of-hours (48.8% versus 38.7%). In 91.7%, the required care as determined by the reviewers was the same as the actual care given to the patient.
Almost half of the 112 emergency ambulance dispatches concern primary care. This finding reinforces the need for research into cooperation between ambulance services, primary care practices and out-of-hours primary care cooperatives.