Winter and the holidays are fast approaching. These are typically times in which patients have trouble. Here a few tips to help keep your patients out of the emergency department.
Winter and the holidays are fast approaching. These are typically times in which patients have trouble. Perhaps this year will stand out, with the stresses of weather, a potentially especially potent cold and flu season, and health coverage uncertainty.
Neither physicians nor patients wish to see preventable emergency department visits occur. Human concerns aside, physicians and patients now often share a degree of economic consequence to such visits, through affiliations with Accountable Care Organizations, for example. Close communication and coordination of care are essential elements to reducing preventable admissions. In our ACO experience, we have seen clearly the differences that simple communication can make.
Coupling the trends of physicians using hospitalists for the admission and monitoring of their patients with the pressures on emergency physicians to disposition patients have contributed to an escalation of admission rates for some patient populations. In our experience, this can approach 90% admission rates for certain patient classifications in certain facilities, giving the appearance that passing through the automatic doors of the emergency department has become practically an indication for admission itself. If such trends continue to bear out, then the implications for the nation’s health economy are chilling themselves.