Practice pattern variations are often attributed to physician decision-making with no accounting for patient preferences.
To test whether a mass media television broadcast unrelated to health was associated with changes in the rate and characteristics of visits for acute emergency care.
Time-series analysis of emergency department visits for any reason.
Population-based sample of all patients seeking emergency care in Ontario, Canada.
The broadcast day was defined as the Olympic men's gold medal ice hockey game final. The control days were defined as the 6 Sundays before and after the broadcast day.
A total of 99 447 visits occurred over the 7 Sundays, of which 13 990 occurred on the broadcast day. Comparing the broadcast day with control days, we found no significant difference in the hourly rate of visits before the broadcast (544 vs 537, p = 0.41) or after the broadcast (647 vs 639, p = 0.55). In contrast, we observed a significant reduction in hourly rate of visits during the broadcast (647 vs 783, p
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Cites: Health Aff (Millwood). 2009 May-Jun;28(3):864-7319414899