One of the problems most affecting healthcare these days is overuse of the emergency departments for non-urgent aid. The following is a thorough explanation of this crucial topic with a highlight on what is occurring in Florida medical rooms.
The Extent of the Issue
About a third of every American will go to an emergency room if they require medical attention even if their medical demand isn’t necessarily an emergency. This information is from a report published in 2016 by a trio of well-respected associates including the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, National Public Radio (NPR) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
A thorough compilation of earlier data dating back nearly thirty years displays similar trends. This publication was issued in 2014 within the American Journal of Managed Care.
It showed that on average 37% of every emergency department visit was classified as non-urgent either during or after the first examination. Many researchers have quoted the publication entitled, “Deciding to Visit the Emergency Department for Non-Urgent Conditions.” The publisher reviewed a sum of 63 full-length investigations including almost 2,000 abstracts as well.
With the state of Florida, they are in line with the overall average in the nation of non-urgent visitations to emergency facilities. Abe Aboraya, a news reporter in the health industry ran a story regarding non-urgent care within Florida emergency facilities along with an NPR affiliate.
In the story, Mr. Aboraya talked with Professor Robert Blendon of Harvard. Blendon stated that nearly one-third of every Floridians used an emergency facility for non-urgent needs in the past two years for health care. The account ran across the nation on NPR’s All Things Considered program. The audio is also available in their records.
What Are Emergency Room Doctors Saying About the Issue?
An emergency room doctor, Dr. Eric Forsthoefel, has seen hundreds of non-urgent matters at the Bixler Trauma & Emergency Center. Recently in an interview, Dr. Forsthoefel described why it’s such an issue.
“Due to the chronic lack of availability to primary care treatment, many patients go to the Emergency Department for aid. No matter how pressing the problem we always make it our responsibility to give paramount care to all patients, of course. Each patient coming into the emergency room will be attended to by techs, nurses, a physician, additional support staff and will need a bed as well. But the growing volume of non-urgent visitations spreads our resources thin and makes it much more challenging to handle critically emergent medical cases that demand immediate and constant attention. It’s very difficult for the entire staff.”
What’s the Reason People Decide To Go to Emergency Rooms For Non-Urgent Help?
Dr. Forsthoefel’s judgment correlates with studies concerning patients looking for non-urgent care in emergency rooms. Perhaps the study that was most-cited was issued in the Annals of Emergency Medicine during 1991. 335 patients were randomly selected who had minor illnesses and were waiting in the George Washington University emergency facility. Most of them wanted to address the problem quicker.