Despite high ED utilization, US hospitals excel in managing care transitions

Although the U.S. has high emergency department utilization, its healthcare system does well in managing readmissions compared to seven other countries, according to a report published by Philips.

The report compares acute unscheduled care across seven countries: the U.S., Canada, Switzerland, the U.K., the Netherlands, Australia and Germany. Many of the findings are unsurprising — healthcare accounts for the highest portion of gross domestic product in the U.S., and U.S. citizens spend by far the most out-of-pocket on healthcare of any country in the study. For example, 41 percent of Americans spent more than $1,000 out-of-pocket on healthcare costs in 2013, by far the highest of any country. The second highest after that was Australia, where 25 percent of citizens reported spending more than $1,000 out of pocket on healthcare costs.

Unfortunately, the U.S. also ranks poorly on ED utilization. With an ED utilization rate of 39 percent, the U.S. comes in second behind Canada for the highest ED utilization rate. The U.S. also has the highest hospital readmission rates or ED visits due to complications — 18 percent. However, it does excel in managing care transitions.

The U.S. leads with the lowest rate of readmissions for gaps in hospital or surgery discharge (28 percent) and the lowest rate of readmission for gaps in hospital discharge planning and transitional care.


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