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Background and Purpose

  • Most previous research regarding factors associated with increased risk of emergency department (ED) use has been done via retrospective review of medical records rather than obtaining patients’ perspectives.
  • Recent research identified patient uncertainty related to symptoms as a primary motivator for seeking ED care, and ongoing uncertainty at the time of ED discharge as an unmet need (Rising et al. 2015; Rising, Hudgins, Reigle, Hollander, & Carr 2016).
  • While providers have limited ability to influence many factors identified by retrospective medical record review (e.g. financial concerns), patient uncertainty can be addressed by providers directly. To do so we must first define domains of uncertainty that patients experience in order to inform targeted interventions to address patient uncertainty.
  • The objective of this research was to engage patients through group concept mapping (GCM) to conceptualize the domains of uncertainty that contribute to decisions to seek care in the ED.

Publication Date



patient uncertainty, emergency department, use


Emergency Medicine | Internal Medicine | Medicine and Health Sciences

Understanding Patient Uncertainty as a Driver of Emergency Department Utilization: A Concept Mapping Approach