Objectives This study investigated the risk associated with interhospital transfer of patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and clinical outcomes according to the location of the patient' residence. Design A nationwide longitudinal cohort. Setting National Health Insurance Service database of South Korea. Participants This study included 69 899 patients with AMI who visited an emergency centre from 2013 to 2015, as per the Korea National Health Insurance Service database. Primary outcome measure The clinical outcome of a patient with AMI was defined as mortality within 7 days, 30 days and 1 year. Results Clinical outcomes were analysed and compared with respect to the location of the patient's residence and occurrence of interhospital transfer. We concluded that the HR of mortality within 7 days was 1.49 times higher (95% CI 1.18 to 1.87) in rural patients than in urban patients not subjected to interhospital transfer and 1.90 times higher (95% CI 1.13 to 3.19) in transferred rural patients than in non-transferred urban patients. Conclusions To reduce health inequality in rural areas, a healthcare policy considering regional characteristics, rather than a central government-led, catch-all approach to healthcare policy, must be formulated. Additionally, a local medical emergency delivery system, based on allocation of roles between different medical facilities in the region, must be established.
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