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Reducing Avoidable Emergency Department Use

Reducing Avoidable Emergency Department Use

Non-emergent and primary care-treatable ED visits make up a significant portion of avoidable ED volumes. Many of these patients lack access to alternative care or assume the ED is the only place that can effectively meet their care needs.

Further, a small percentage of complex patients make up a significant proportion of ED use. These patients tend to have a range of medical and psychosocial needs and rely on many health care resources, including the ED.

To address the cost and quality implications of avoidable ED utilization, population health managers deploy a range of tactics aimed at increasing patient access to care, educating patients about appropriate use of health services, and developing targeted programs for frequent users. This research report compiles 15 tactics to meet these objectives and reduce avoidable ED utilization.

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What you'll find inside

Current Avoidable ED Landscape (p. 5)
Reviews national trends that demonstrate the need for a targeted focus on reducing avoidable ED utilization, including:

  • Drivers of increasing ED utilization
  • Characteristics of frequent users
  • Avoidable cost opportunity in the ED

Tactics for Decreasing Avoidable ED Use (p. 9)
Details case study examples from organizations who have successfully implemented the following three strategies to reduce avoidable ED utilization:

  • Increase patient access to care
  • Educate about and encourage appropriate use of health services
  • Design targeted measures for most complex patients

Prioritization Matrix of ED Avoidance Tactics (p. 11)
Includes a roadmap for prioritizing across ED avoidance strategies, based on the following criteria:

  • Level of investment needed
  • Time necessary for implementation

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