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 or traumatic conditions (requiring continued emergency management) 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. In keeping with the American College of Emergency Physicians Practice Guidelines for suspected ACS, every patient's evaluation includes either serial blood tests, an Exercise Stress Test, and/or a Computerized Tomography Coronary Angiogram.

Other common medical diagnoses addressed in the EDOU include asthma, faints and falls, skin infection, urinary tract infections, congestive heart failure, and mild traumatic injuries, just to name a few.

In addition, the EDOU Observation Unit is tailored to meet the specific needs of the clinical demands of the HUP ED: a level one trauma center and tertiary referral center 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 around-the-clock by registered nurses; advance care practitioners, such as nurse practitioners and/or physician assistants; and board certified physicians who specialize in Observation Medicine. Emergency Medicine attending physicians cover the unit on a daily basis, rounding on the patients each morning, helping direct the clinical management of the patients, and evaluating new admissions. In addition, attending physician consultation is available from the ED staff around-the-clock.