Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hospitals Try Housecalls

Cheers to the many providers looking at alternatives to the use of the Emergency Department.  They are focusing on defining the right use of the ED – for emergent symptoms and accessible care – and discovering patterns of inappropriate use. Once discovered, solutions can be developed that address the 30% or more of visits ED visits that are not necessary.

For example, one ED found their evening/weekend patient load included many patients who would have chosen the associated (but non-emergency) clinic, but the clinic was closed on evenings and weekends. Those patients viewed the ED as the “Department of Available Medicine.” By changing the clinic’s hours, the ED’s costs dropped and the clinic was able to staff appropriately for demand.
Some hospitals are using in-ED navigators to coach departing patients on the next use of the ED, reaching out proactively to direct frequent fliers to alternate sites, offering 24 hour staff nurse call lines, disease interventions, and personalized messaging for chronic condition management.  These programs not only save costs, they increase loyalty too.

Linda MacCracken
Vice President

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