Lessons on Encouraging Appropriate Use of the Emergency Department

Hospital emergency departments (EDs) are indispensable to the acute health care system. Yet many ED visits are not emergencies or could be prevented with effective and timely outpatient care. This brief provides lessons and stories of success from AF4Q on how some communities are addressing this issue.

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Ave cost of visit to ED was $580 more than ave cost of an office-based visit in 2007 #EDuse

Working Together to Reduce Avoidable ED Visits in Milwaukee

Milwaukee Health Care Partnership's Emergency Department Care Coordination Initiative leverages existing, community-wide health IT infastructure to connect Medicaid and uninsured patients who visit the ED with a primary medical home.

Using Primary Care Office Management to Reduce ED Use

In a pilot effort, The Greater Detroit Area Health Council (GDAHC) worked to reduce patients' use of the ED for primary care-treatable conditions with practice management techniques designed that help direct patients to appropriate care settings.

Resources on Reducing Avoidable ED Use

The emergency room waiting area.

Resource Guide

This resource guide provides links and additional information for providers and organziations interested in learning more about reducing avoidable ED use.

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Doctors go over a patient's charts in the emergency room.

Case Studies From Aligning Forces

These three case studies from Albuquerque, Detroit, and Wisconsin highlight how three Aligning Forces communities tackled inappropriate ED use.

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An Interview With Jenifer Hughes

We sat down with Jenifer Hughes, executive vice president of Administrative Network, Inc., to find out how Detroit is implementing simple, low-tech interventions across a group of practices to help patients understand their options when they encounter a medical issue after-hours.

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Reducing Avoidable ED Visits

Find out how low-tech, common sense solutions achieved significant reduction in unnecessary ED visits in Detroit.

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Quality Field Notes presents key lessons learned by regional alliances of clinicians, patients, and payers in Aligning Forces for Quality communities as they work to transform local health care and provide models for national reform.

Webinar: Lessons From Aligning Forces

Watch the archived webcast here.

RWJF hosted a webinar on how community-based organizations, primary care practices, and hospitals are working to reduce inappropriate emergency department utilization. Presenters shared strategies tested through the Foundation’s Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) program. Over the past several years, AF4Q communities have developed innovative strategies for reducing the inappropriate use of emergency departments by consumers. These efforts include reducing ED utilization for conditions that are treatable in the primary care setting; efforts by hospital EDs to redirect patients to more efficient care settings; and efforts by providers to share information on patient ED use with each other to better orchestrate patient care.

Learn more about AF4Q

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