Changes in Emergency Department Volumes at the Largest U.S. Military Hospital during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Adrianna Long, Meghan Fillinger, Michael D. April, Ian L. Hudson, Wesley Trueblood, Gillian Schmitz, Eric J. Chin, Bonnie Hartstein, James A. Pfaff, Steven G. Schauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: The coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has significantly impacted global healthcare delivery. Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) is the DoD’s largest hospital and a critical platform for maintaining a ready medical force. We compare temporal trends in patient volumes and characteristics in the BAMC emergency department (ED) before versus during the pandemic. Materials and Methods: We abstracted data on patient visits from the BAMC ED electronic medical record system. Data included patient demographics, visit dates, emergency severity index triage level, and disposition. We visually compared the data from January 1, 2019 to November 30, 2019 versus January 1, 2020 to November 30, 2020 to assess the period with the most apparent differences. We then used descriptive statistics to characterize the pre-pandemic control period (1 March-November 30, 2019) versus the pandemic period (1 March-November 30, 2020). Results: Overall, when comparing the pre-pandemic and pandemic periods, the median number of visits per day was 232 (Interquartile Range (IQR) 214-250, range 145-293) versus 165 (144-193, range 89-308, P < .0001). Specific to pediatric visits, we found the median number of visits per day was 39 (IQR 33-46, range 15-72) versus 18 (IQR 14-22, range 5-61, P < .001). When comparing the median number of visits by month, the volumes were lower during the pandemic for all months, all of which were strongly significant (P < .001 for all). Conclusions: The BAMC ED experienced a significant decrease in patient volume during the COVID-19 pandemic starting in March 2020. This may have significant implications for the capacity of this facility to maintain a medically ready force.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1538-e1543
JournalMilitary medicine
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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