Objectives: Most requests for gastroenterology consultations for hospitalized patients are for endoscopic procedures. Open access endoscopy has been evaluated in several institutions for outpatients. Our aim was to evaluate an open access policy for hospitalized patients. Methods: Since April of 1996, patients hospitalized in the Soroka Medical Center have been referred directly for upper endoscopy (esophagogastroduodenoscopy, EGD) and flexible sigmoidoscopy (FS). The numbers of procedures and consultation requests between July 1, 1996, and September 30, 1996, were compared with the corresponding months of 1995. A survey of physician satisfaction with the new open access system was conducted. Results: The mean number of monthly consultations during the study period was 30.7 ± 2.4, compared with 119.3 ± 5.4 during the same months in 1995 (p = 0.006). Open access endoscopy was performed on 114 patients during the study period. Upper GI bleeding (n = 41) and abdominal pain (n = 33) were the most common indications for EGD. There were nine duodenal ulcers, five gastric ulcers, and eight gastric carcinomas. Sixteen patients (21%) had normal EGDs. The most common indications for FS were rectal bleeding (n = 24) and diarrhea (n = 13). Seven patients had colorectal cancer; 12 FSs were normal. In all, 286 EGDs and FSs were conducted in the study period compared with 253 in 1995 (not significant). All physicians expressed satisfaction with the new system and favored its continuation. Conclusions: The open access policy for hospitalized patients led to a considerable reduction in requests for consultations, with no significant increase in the number of endoscopies. The majority of patients referred directly for endoscopy had appropriate indications.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||American Journal of Gastroenterology|
|State||Published - 1 Oct 1997|