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Research Letter
September 2017

Characteristics of Patients Presenting to the Emergency Department and Urgent Care for Treatment of Sunburn

Author Affiliations
  • 1Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 4Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois
  • 5Department of Dermatology, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Dermatol. 2017;153(9):934-935. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2017.1874

Sunburn led to an estimated 33 826 visits to US emergency departments (EDs) in 2013, resulting in a cost of $11.2 million.1 Despite this burden, little is known about the features of patients utilizing the ED or urgent care clinic (UCC) for treatment of sunburn. Characterizing this patient population may help guide efforts of prevention, utilization reduction, and transition of care to lower cost settings. In this study we examined the demographics and characteristics of patients seen at the ED or UCC for sunburn treatment at 2 major hospitals over a 15-year period.

We searched the Partners Healthcare Research Patient Data Repository for sunburn visits to the EDs of Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and associated UCC between January 1, 2000, through December 31, 2015, using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification, codes for sunburn (692.71, 692.76, and 692.77). Each identified medical record was individually reviewed to confirm the diagnosis of sunburn and for data extraction. Reason for sunburn and patient characteristics were recorded. Records without adequate documentation or a primary diagnosis of sunburn were excluded (n = 59). The study was approved by the Partners institutional review board. Written informed consent was not required because this was a retrospective study.