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EMERGENCY: Factors involved in multiple ED visits

Patterns of multiple ED visits are likely driven by patients’ health conditions and care needs rather than by PCP-related factors.  Multiple ED visits also appear to be complementary, rather than substitutionary, to physician office visits.  This implies that multiple ED visits are not indicative of discretionary use.  The finding also suggests PCP-focused interventions aimed at reducing ED use are unlikely to have a significant impact.”

This study tackled the question: To what extent could expanded primary care options, such as changing physician office hours, substitute for emergency department care?  The data included records on over 20,000 adult patients of the Geisinger Health Plan (a Danville, PA, HMO) who visited the emergency department more than once a year during the study period 2015 to 2016.  These more frequent emergency department users tended to be younger adults (under 40 years old), Medicaid recipients, and patients with multiple clinical issues.  The more frequent users were also found to be patients with a higher number of primary care visits and inpatient hospital admissions.

Source: Maeng, D.D., Hao, J., and Bulger, J.B. (2017). Patterns of multiple emergency department visits: Do primary care physicians matter? The Permanente Journal, 21, 16-063.  Click here: http://www.thepermanentejournal.org/files/2017/16-063.pdf   Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

 

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