Physician Variability in Management of Emergency Department Patients with Chest Pain

DSpace/Manakin Repository

Physician Variability in Management of Emergency Department Patients with Chest Pain

Citable link to this page


Title: Physician Variability in Management of Emergency Department Patients with Chest Pain
Author: Smulowitz, Peter B.; Barrett, Orit; Hall, Matthew M.; Grossman, Shamai A.; Ullman, Edward A.; Novack, Victor

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Smulowitz, Peter B., Orit Barrett, Matthew M. Hall, Shamai A. Grossman, Edward A. Ullman, and Victor Novack. 2017. “Physician Variability in Management of Emergency Department Patients with Chest Pain.” Western Journal of Emergency Medicine 18 (4): 592-600. doi:10.5811/westjem.2017.2.32747.
Full Text & Related Files:
Abstract: Introduction: Chest pain is a common emergency department (ED) presentation accounting for 8–10 million visits per year in the United States. Physician-level factors such as risk tolerance are predictive of admission rates. The recent advent of accelerated diagnostic pathways and ED observation units may have an impact in reducing variation in admission rates on the individual physician level. Methods: We conducted a single-institution retrospective observational study of ED patients with a diagnosis of chest pain as determined by diagnostic code from our hospital administrative database. We included ED visits from 2012 and 2013. Patients with an elevated troponin or an electrocardiogram (ECG) demonstrating an ST elevation myocardial infarction were excluded. Patients were divided into two groups: “admission” (this included observation and inpatients) and “discharged.” We stratified physicians by age, gender, residency location, and years since medical school. We controlled for patient- and hospital-related factors including age, gender, race, insurance status, daily ED volume, and lab values. Results: Of 4,577 patients with documented dispositions, 3,252 (70.9%) were either admitted to the hospital or into observation (in an ED observation unit or in the hospital), while 1,333 (29.1%) were discharged. Median number of patients per physician was 132 (interquartile range 89–172). Average admission rate was 73.7±9.5% ranging from 54% to 96%. Of the 3,252 admissions, 2,638 (81.1%) were to observation. There was significant variation in the admission rate at the individual physician level with adjusted odds ratio ranging from 0.42 to 5.8 as compared to the average admission. Among physicians’ characteristics, years elapsed since finishing medical school demonstrated a trend towards association with a higher admission probability. Conclusion: There is substantial variation among physicians in the management of patients presenting with chest pain, with physician experience playing a role.
Published Version: doi:10.5811/westjem.2017.2.32747
Other Sources:
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at
Citable link to this page:
Downloads of this work:

Show full Dublin Core record

This item appears in the following Collection(s)


Search DASH

Advanced Search