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16 Recent Studies on Emergency Department Visits

Here are 16 studies on emergency department visits from the past two-and-a-half months, beginning with the most recent.

1. The American College of Emergency Physicians announced studies show frequent users of the emergency department do not have higher rates of non-urgent visits compared with typical ED patients.

2. The Center for Health Care Strategies announced a project involving integrated care reduced the rate of mental health hospitalizations by an estimated 12 percent over two years in Pennsylvania.

3. Research published in Health Affairs suggests increased use of hospital observation units could help save $3.1 billion in healthcare costs each year.

4. Of all New York City ED patients in 2008, 2.3 percent were super-users — patients who had five or more ED visits each year from 2006 through 2008 — and 74 percent were one-time ED visitors.

5. Highly frequent use of emergency departments in New York City is associated with mental illness and substance use, according to a United Hospital Fund report.

6. Different strategies for improving emergency department patient flow at six hospitals cost up to 1,017 hours and $490,000, according to a Journal of Emergency Nursing study.

7. A hospital medicine emergency department team can improve patient flow, decrease ED diversion and treat patients boarded in the ED more quickly than can EDs without an HMED team, according to a study in Journal of Hospital Medicine.

8. The average wait time to see a healthcare provider in emergency departments increased 25 percent from 2003 to 2009, jumping from 46.5 minutes to 58.1 minutes, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

9. Patient dumping — refusing patients care due to their inability to pay — still occurs despite the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act that requires hospitals' emergency departments to treat all patients regardless of ability to pay, according to a Health Affairs study.

10. Performing a metabolic test at the point of care in an emergency department decreased length of stay compared to performing the test in a central laboratory, according to a study in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

11. Hospitals treating higher proportions of minority populations are more likely to divert ambulances, which indicates emergency department overcrowding, than hospitals serving lower proportions of minorities, according to a study in Health Affairs.

12. Among children older than six years old presenting to the emergency department with diabetes, those covered by Medicaid return to the ED more often than those with commercial insurance, according to a study in Pediatric Emergency Care.

13. From 2001 and 2007, there was an annual average of 2.7 percent pediatric 72-hour return visits to the emergency department, according to a Pediatric Emergency Care study.

14. HealthCore, a subsidiary of WellPoint, found ED visits for nonemergency conditions decreased 17 percent in six months among 32,000 WellPoint members in Connecticut who participated in an ED intervention program and were seeking emergency care, according to an American Medical News report.

15. Contrary to popular belief, reducing nonurgent visits to the emergency department — or visits deemed inappropriate for the ED — may not produce cost savings, according to a study in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

16. The majority of nonelderly Medicaid patients' emergency department visits are for serious symptoms rather than minor injuries, as is often thought, according to a report by the Center for Studying Health System Change.

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