According to a study, researcher examined an increase in inpatient volume is associated with a greater increase in diversion hours for ambulances when the volume increase occurs among inpatients versus emergency department visitors. The study was published in the  Health Affairs.

Ambulance Diversion Levels

Researchers examined the extent to which both daily inpatient and emergency department volume at specific hospitals and diversion levels (the number of hours that ambulances were diverted on a given day) at the nearest neighboring hospital correlated with diversion levels.

The correlation was assessed during the period from 2005 to 2012. The researchers observed a correlation for a 10% increase in patient volume with a seven-fold greater increase in diversion hours when volume increase occurred among inpatients versus emergency department visitors (5 versus 0.7%).

The study hospital's diversion hours increased by 8, 23, and 44% , respectively, when the next-closest emergency department experienced mild, moderate, or severe diversion.

Emergency Department

These findings suggest that efforts focused on managing inpatient volume and flow might reduce diversion more effectively than interventions focused only on emergency department dynamics.