Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Clinic Inaccessibility leads to ED Overcrowding

Ann Emerg Med. 2005 Jan;45(1):4-12.

Ellen J. Weber, MD in January 2005 Annals of Emergency Medicine found that ED users are similar to nonusers with regard to health insurance and usual source of care but are more likely to be in poor health and have experienced disruptions in regular care. [Suggesting that] the success of efforts to decrease ED use may depend on improving delivery of outpatient care.

In other words, there are no more uninsured patients in the ED than anywhere else in the hosptial or medical clinics. A more important factor in ED overcrowding is that many ED patients go the ED because they cannot get an appointment to see their primary care physician.

Some medical practice groups assign someone to be on-call at all times or to evaluate and treat same-day appointments for the entire group. Patients with urgent concerns or problems can then be seen immediately by someone who has access to their medical records, recieve prompt treatment, or be directly admitted to the hospital never having to set foot in an ED.

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