National Emergency Department Inventories (NEDI)
Background and Significance: Since unplanned medical problems affect people worldwide, NEDI aspires to describe emergency healthcare systems around the world. The NEDI online survey identifies similarities and differences in EDs with a philosophy that different emergency healthcare systems can learn from one another. Using technology to facilitate cooperation, we hope that NEDI will serve as a platform for exchanging ideas on improving the accessibility and quality of emergency care for all.
Research Design and Methods: We conducted nation- and city-specific cross-sectional web surveys with the ED as the primary unit of analysis. A Country Coordinator was responsible for compiling a comprehensive list of all EDs in that country or city, with a contact person for each ED. The Country Coordinator emailed the survey internet address to all ED contact persons and requested that they complete the simple, self-administered online questionnaire. The survey was designed by Emergency Medicine Network (EMNet) staff to ask basic questions about ED characteristics and capabilities, while maximizing comparability of responses across highly diverse sites. To standardize the survey methodology, all questions were asked in reference to a common time period of interest, for instance calendar year 2007 for sites queried in 2008. Sites without internet access were invited to submit a paper survey.
Data Collection: All EDs in a given country were invited to participate in NEDI by the Country Coordinator. The Country Coordinator assigned site numbers locally, distributed the survey, and received emails from sites upon survey completion to allow for tracking of respondents. EMNet managed and analyzed the resulting database. The Country Coordinator was responsible for following-up with sites and sending reminders to non-respondents to achieve a >80% response rate.
Results: Once a country achieved a >80% response rate, EMNet sent the Country Coordinator summary statistics for the core dataset from their country. At the end of the survey, the Country Coordinator reported results to all survey respondents (and other groups) in aggregate form.
Future Projects: Building on NEDI, we encourage individuals to conduct surveys in additional countries and major cities. If you are interested in coordinating a survey in your country or city, please contact us and we will provide you with additional information and the actual survey instruments. Please note that individuals who conduct future surveys will be responsible for all aspects of the survey, including the management and analysis of the resulting data. While the conduct of any research study is never “easy,” local implementation of the NEDI survey is both feasible and rewarding for a highly motivated and well-organized person.