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Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the appropriateness of the emergency referrals made by primary care clinicians and determine the factors contributing to inappropriate referrals. Methods: This cross-sectional study utilises referral notes review between October 2019 and March 2020. Patients referred to Khawla Hospital’s emergency department by a primary care clinician in Muscat Governorate were randomly selected; their referral notes were reviewed by five family physicians. The appropriateness of the referrals was evaluated according to the primary care referral protocol. Any referral that deviated from the protocol was classified as inappropriate. The prevalence and characteristics of inappropriate referrals were identified, and the factors contributing to inappropriate referral were determined using multivariable logistic regression. Results: In total, 591 referrals were reviewed; 354 (59.9%) of them were classified as inappropriate due to inadequate medical notes (291, 82.2%), lack of provisional diagnosis (176, 49.7%), misdirected to a non-concerned emergency (30, 8.4%) or misclassification of urgency (107 [30.2%] were classified as urgent and 45 [12.7%] as routine). After adjusting for multiple variables, insufficient clinical notes, unavailability of referral guidelines and lack of expertise were found to be strong determinants of inappropriate referral, with an odds ratio of 62.52 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 32.04–121.96), 2.88 (95% CI: 1.40–5.92) and 9.37 (95% CI: 4.09–21.43), respectively. Conclusion: While most of the referrals required emergency management, the majority were inappropriate, mainly due to insufficient clinical documentation. Inadequate clinical notes and lack of national guidelines and expertise were found to be strong predictors of inappropriate emergency referrals.

Keywords: Referral and Consultation; Emergencies; Primary Care; Physicians; Documentation; Records; Guidelines.

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How to Cite
Anwar, H., Al Harthi, T., Jaafar, N., Al Shuraiqi, F., Afifi, N., Al Abri, K., Al Rujaibi, S., & Al Ghafri, T. (2024). Appropriateness of the Emergency Referrals Made by Primary Care Clinicians: A cross-sectional review of referral notes. Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, 24(1), 28–36.