The emergency department (ED) is vital to any healthcare system, providing immediate care for acute injuries or traumatic/life-threatening health issues by a highly trained team of medical professionals. This kind of life-saving care is undoubtedly invaluable.
However, there are plenty of circumstances where the ED may not be the most appropriate choice. In fact, research shows that nearly 30% of ED visits could be better addressed in a primary care setting. It’s important for patients to realize that there may be more appropriate choices to treat health concerns that are not life-threatening.
Unnecessary ED visits lead to an overburden on the healthcare system, driving costs and consuming the time of medical professionals who need to attend to the acutely ill. Diverting these inappropriate ED encounters could save the healthcare industry billions of dollars and help improve patient outcomes.
Providers can use several tactics to empower patients to choose an alternative care setting, when clinically appropriate. Here are a few ways medical offices can help guide patients to the right fit for their healthcare needs.