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Comparison of missed opportunities for earlier HIV diagnosis in 3 geographically proximate emergency departments.

ABSTRACT: Differences in the prevalence of undiagnosed HIV between different types of emergency departments (EDs) are not well understood. We seek to define missed opportunities for HIV diagnosis within 3 geographically proximate EDs serving different patient populations in a single metropolitan area.For an urban academic, an urban community, and a suburban community ED located within 10 miles of one another, we reviewed visit records for a cohort of patients who received a new diagnosis of HIV between July 1999 and June 2003. Missed opportunities for earlier HIV diagnosis were defined as ED visits in the year before diagnosis, during which there was no documented ED HIV testing offer or test. Outcomes were the number of missed opportunity visits and the number of patients with a missed opportunity for each ED. We secondarily reviewed medical records for missed opportunity encounters, using an extensive list of indications that might conceivably trigger testing.Among 276 patients with a new HIV diagnosis, 123 (44.5%) visited an ED in the year before diagnosis or received a diagnosis in the ED. The urban academic ED HIV testing program diagnosed 23 (8.3%) cases and offered testing to 24 (8.7%) patients who declined. Missed opportunities occurred during 187 visits made by 76 (27.5%) patients. These included 70 patients with 157 visits at the urban academic ED, 9 patients with 24 visits at the urban community ED, and 4 patients with 6 visits at the suburban community ED. Medical records were available for 172 of the 187 missed opportunity visits. Visits were characterized by the following potential testing indicators: HIV risk factors (58; 34%), related diagnosis indicating risk (7; 4%), AIDS-defining illness (8; 5%), physician suspicion of HIV (29; 17%), and nonspecific signs or symptoms of illness potentially consistent with HIV (126; 73%).Geographically proximate EDs differ in their opportunities for earlier HIV diagnosis, but all 3 sites had missed opportunities. Many ED patients with undiagnosed HIV have potential indications for testing documented even in the absence of a dedicated risk assessment, although most of these are nonspecific signs or symptoms of illness that may not be clinically useful selection criteria.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3690121 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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