Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

International Journal of Emergency Medicine








Background: This research offers two exploratory frameworks for medical regimen compliance and medical immediacy. The first classifies compliance awareness, compliance mitigation, and financial limitation for those patients that exhibit nonadherence with a medical regimen. The second classifies medical immediacy and characterizes avoidable utilization.

Methods: Representative sampling of adult patients presenting at an emergency department (62,000/ppy) triaged as low acuity; emergency department physician assessment of noncompliance with medical regimen for those patients with a complaint related to a chronic condition; and emergency department physician assessment of medical immediacy and avoidable utilization.

Results: Physicians report 48.3% (95% confidence interval (CI) 43.5% to 53.1%) of patients with at least a single chronic condition are presenting with symptoms or complaint related a chronic condition, and 39.6% (CI 31.7% to 47.4%) of these exhibit noncompliance with the medical regimen associated with that chronic condition. 16.4% (CI 6.6% to 26.1%) of the patients exhibit pseudo compliance, a belief that the medical regimen is in compliance when in fact it is not. If the patient had been in compliance, 85.9% (CI 77.0% to 94.8%) of the presenting conditions may have been mitigated. Noncompliance cases (34.5% (CI 22.0% to 47.1%)) are partly attributable to financial constraints. Further, 19.1% (CI 15.7% to 22.5%) are assessed as requiring no medical intervention and 3.4% (CI 1.8% to 4.9%) require immediate stabilization.

Conclusions: A large portion of low-acuity presentations are related to a chronic condition and noncompliance with the associated medical regimen contributes to the need to seek medical services. Interventions addressing literacy and financial constraints may increase compliance and decrease utilization.

Original Publication Citation

Behr, J.G., Diaz, R., Knapp, B., & Kratzke, C. (2015). Framework for classifying compliance and medical immediacy among low-acuity presentations at an urban trauma center. International Journal of Emergency Medicine, 8(7). doi: 10.1186/s12245-015-0051-x