Institute:Office of National Coordinator (ONC) Workforce Training Curriculum
Component:Introduction to Health Care and Public Health in the U.S.
Unit:Delivering Health Care - Part 2
Lecture:Retail Clinics, Urgent Care Centers, and Emergency Departments as Venues for Health Care
Slide content:Reducing Inappropriate ED Visits Patient education is key Establish medical homes Start a telephone triage system Improve the availability of after hours care Increase enrollment in safety net programs Simplify health information 11
Slide notes:One important strategy for reducing the number of inappropriate ED visits is patient education. A patient who is aware of the ramifications of inappropriate ED visits, and the financial burden associated with these visits, is less likely to use EDs inappropriately. Primary care clinics need to be able to provide comprehensive services, especially for patients with complex medical issues or chronic illnesses who tend to use the emergency department. Primary care physicians can coordinate a patients care longitudinally and comprehensively by establishing patient-centered medical homes. Sometimes patients do not know whether it is more appropriate for them to go to the primary care clinic or to the emergency department. This problem could be avoided with a telephone triage , system, where nurses can direct callers to the appropriate health care setting. Another effort should be to improve the availability of after-hours care with extended hours in primary care clinics, convenience care centers, or even urgent care centers, to reduce the level of utilization of emergency departments after office hours. Inappropriate ED visits could also be reduced by increasing enrollment in safety net programs. Health information is often complex and patients sometimes find it difficult to care for themselves, but if health information were simplified, patients may be able to better care for themselves and avoid going to the emergency department in the first place . 11