Emergency Medicine

Observation Medicine

The Emergency Department Observation Unit ("EDOU") of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Department of Emergency Medicine is a seventeen bed, short-stay outpatient unit, located adjacent to the main clinical space of the Emergency Department (ED).

The core mission of the EDOU is to improve and expedite the management of patients with medical conditions requiring observation and treatment, whose care can, on average, be completed in 24 hours or less.

Over one-third of the patients admitted to the EDOU have the chief complaint of acute chest pain and are usually considered low risk for Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS). They are routinely placed under observation in the EDOU in order to rule out myocardial infarction.

Common medical diagnoses addressed in the EDOU include asthma, faints and falls, skin infection, urinary tract infections, congestive heart failure, chest pain, and abdominal pain, just to name a few.

In addition, the EDOU is tailored to meet the specific needs of the clinical demands of the HUP ED: a level two trauma center and tertiary referral center with a large oncology and transplant population, and for patients with carbon monoxide poisoning requiring hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

The EDOU is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and is staffed by registered nurses, Advance Practice Practitioners (nurse practitioners and physician assistants), and board certified physicians who specialize in Observation Medicine. Emergency Medicine attending physicians cover the unit around-the-clock, and are available for consultations as needed.