Reducing non-urgent use of the emergency department: a review of strategies and guide for future research

Health Services Utilization and Research Committee
Record ID 31998008645
English
Authors' objectives:

To review strategies for reducing non-urgent use of the Emergency Department

Authors' results and conclusions: We identified several strategies for addressing non-urgent ED use. Most target a change in patient behavior. These include: improving access to primary care clinics or providers; implementing gate-keeping or managed care, a system that assigns patients to a primary care provider who must pre-approve ED care; educating patients about when to use EDs and the benefits of continuous primary care; introducing cost-sharing disincentives; providing compassionate care; and, triaging and referring non-urgent patients to other care settings. We also identified two staff- and system-centered change initiatives: triage training and medical advice telephone lines.
Authors' recomendations: The Health Services Utilization and Research Commission concluded that more research is needed. The available evidence does not definitively identify any one strategy that safely, effectively, and efficiently reduces non-urgent ED use, nor does it conclusively eliminate any approach. The Commission also concluded that, before Saskatchewan health districts take steps to address the issue, system stakeholders must better define the issue by measuring its prevalence, evaluating its impact, and, perhaps most importantly, identifying its causes.
Authors' methods: Review
Details
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 1997
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: Canada
MeSH Terms
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Health Planning
Contact
Organisation Name: Health Services Utilization and Research Commission
Contact Address: Health Services Utilization and Research Committee Box 46, 103 Hospital Drive, Saskatoon SK S7N 0W8, Canada Tel: (306) 655-1500, Fax: (306) 655-1462
Contact Name: nisbetb@sdh.sk.ac. This organisation is now closed. Please see the Health Quality Council (HQC) website for further information at: http://www.hqc.sk.ca/.
Contact Email: nisbetb@sdh.sk.ac. This organisation is now closed. Please see the Health Quality Council (HQC) website for further information at: http://www.hqc.sk.ca/.
Copyright: Health Services Utilization and Research Committee
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.