UC Irvine researchers present latest findings at emergency medicine forum

March 26, 2008

The UC Irvine Department of Emergency Medicine is hosting the 11th annual Society of Academic Emergency Medicine Research Forum March 28-29 in Costa Mesa, Calif. As part of the forum, UC Irvine emergency medical physicians will present research findings on a variety of related areas ranging from the continued decline of on-call emergency department services to the success of computerized alcohol-use counseling.




Emergency department on-call coverage continues to worsen in California


DR. SCOTT E. RUDKIN and his UC Irvine colleagues have found emergency medical services in California continue to erode. In surveying emergency medicine physicians in 2000 and again in 2006, they found that California emergency departments reported significant trouble with timely response for on-call services - specialties such as plastic surgery, neurosurgery and ophthalmology. Of 21 on-call specialties, response worsened for nine and improved for only one, leading the researchers to conclude that "the on-call situation in California has worsened considerably in six years."




Child-pedestrian collisions more frequent in poorer neighborhoods


DR. BHARATH CHAKRAVARTHY and his colleagues with the UC Irvine Center for Trauma and Injury Prevention Research examined police-reported child-pedestrian collision rates in economically and culturally diverse Orange County, Calif., and found that collisions happen nine times more frequently in low-income neighborhoods. Along with income levels, variables that related to these collisions included population density, household size, high-school graduation rates among adults and English-language skills. The implications of this study are that risk factors for child-pedestrian collisions are many, but the most important risk factor appears to be poverty. Further research should be targeted at mitigating the detrimental effects that poverty has on injury disparities.




Computerized alcohol-use intervention pays dividends


DR. FEDERICO VACA, executive director of the Center for Trauma and Injury Prevention Research, and colleagues report that emergency department patients who participate in computerized alcohol-use screening reported significantly lower alcohol consumption when contacted six months later. Vaca oversees a program at the UC Irvine Medical Center emergency department in which non-intoxicated patients interact with a roll-to-the-bedside interactive computerized kiosk that inquires about personal alcohol use and provides a personalized printout offering alcohol prevention and treatment strategies. This kiosk, known as CASI, incorporates introspective questioning and motivational interviewing techniques to get patients to reflect upon their alcohol-drinking patterns, their health and the reasons for their emergency department visit. Using CASI in this busy emergency department setting has been found both efficient and effective.




Safety legislation helping reduce childhood non-fatal drowning accidents


DR. CHRISTOPHER WALL and his colleagues tracked child-related submersions (non-fatal drowning accidents) and fatal drownings in Orange County, Calif., after the 1994 enactment of federal SafeKids legislation and a 1999 county ordinance requiring greater pool management and drowning-prevention education for adults who have or supervise children. Wall found a significant decrease in the instances of submersions and only a slight drop in the number of drowning deaths. The data show, he said, that legislation and education are effective, but that drowning deaths involve more complex factors that require further study.
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University of California - Irvine

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