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Study: 71% of ED Visits Unnecessary, Avoidable

Seventy-one percent of emergency department visits are unnecessary or could have been avoided, according to a study by Truven Health Analytics.

Truven Health Analytics analyzed insurance claims data for more than 6.5 million ED visits in 2010 based on data in the commercial Truven Health MarketScan database. Only 29 percent of ED visits required emergency care and were not preventable, according to the study. Of the remaining 71 percent of ED visits, 42 percent required immediate attention for conditions that could have been safely treated in a primary care setting, 24 percent did not require immediate attention and 6 percent required emergency care that could have been avoided with appropriate primary care.

In 2010, the average cost of an ED visit was $1,316 and the average cost of an office visit was $145, according to the study. Diverting 10 percent of the unnecessary or avoidable ED visits to an office setting would save $18.68 in total allowed costs per health plan member annually, according to the study.

More Articles on ED Utilization:

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