Emergency medical resource use in Taipei City

Sheng Chuan Hu, Jeffrey Tsai, Wei Fong Kao, David Yen, Li Ming Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. It is a worldwide trend to serve emergency patients at emergency departments (EDs) staffed by board-certified emergency physicians (EPs). The question arises as to how many EPs are cost effective? This cannot be answered until utilization of emergency resources in the community is explored, so that appropriate plans for efficient ED use, staffing and training of EPs can be made. Methods. A prospective randomized chart-review study was conducted from August 1, 1995, until May 31, 1996, in the EDs of eight large hospitals in Taipei City. These included Chung-Hsin Municipal Hospital (CHH), Chung-Shiaw Municipal Hospital (CSH), Ho-Ping Municipal Hospital (HPH), Jen-Ai Municipal Hospital (JAH), Mackay Memorial Hospital (MMH), Tri-Service General Hospital (TSGH), Veterans General Hospital-Taipei (VGHT) and the Yang-Ming Municipal Hospital (YMH). Results. Of 37,889 cases reviewed, the average daily ED census at each hospital was: VGH-T 198; TSGH 148; MMH 224; HPH 62; YMH 84; CHH 41; JAH 102; and CSH 139. At MMH, pediatric patients comprised 38.8% of emergency patients and the elderly comprised 49% of patients at VGH-T. The average age of patients was 56 years in VGH-T and 40 years in other hospitals. There were 71 (11.1%) pediatric patients and 3,087 (1.8%) adult patients taken to hospital by an emergency medical services (EMS) ambulance. A total of 176 pediatric and 2,230 (8.1%) adult patients belonged to triage categories 1 and 2. VGH-T had a much higher percentage of triage 1 and 2 patients (769, 13%) than the other hospitals. A total of 30.7% of pediatric and 17.4% of adult patients were classified as triage 4 (pseudoemergency). Patients requiring advanced life support, referral cases and patients requiring an intensive care unit (ICU) bed accounted for 1.1%, 0.9% and 0.6% of pediatric patients, and 6.8%, 3.4% and 1.8% of adult patients, respectively. These figures increased to 11.1%, 7.7% and 3.5%, respectively, in VGH-T. Among patients requiring ICU admission, 30% of pediatric and 53% of adult patients were not admitted on presentation to the ED. Of 10,099 children and 27,555 adults who were evaluated for case disposition, 651 (6.5%) and 4,061 (14.7%), respectively, were considered for admission. Among these 542 (83.3%) and 2,894 (71.3%), respectively, were admitted. Conclusions. VGH-T is a favorable training ground for EPs due to its high volume of adult and elderly, advanced life support eligible, ICU and high acuity patients. MMH is an ideal place for training in pediatric emergency medicine. Utilization of the 119 emergency response system is low. The number of patients with high acuity triage in Taipei City is low. However, Taipei City faces a shortage of acute care beds, especially ICU beds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-478
Number of pages9
JournalChinese Medical Journal (Taipei)
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Emergency medical services
  • Emergency medicine
  • Emergency physicians
  • Epidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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