From 1995 to 1998, researchers from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey examined why people use hospital emergency departments for medically nonurgent situations-a situation that, according to some studies, occurs in as many as two-thirds of pediatric visits to emergency departments.
Researchers gathered data for the study at two urban New Jersey hospitals and four clinics through:
Parents said they chose the emergency department because:
Most providers felt that parents used the emergency department because of lack of insurance or lack of access to facilities that accept people with public insurance.
Most clinic users see the health center as an optimal place for primary care, while some emergency department users consider the emergency department better than or equal to the clinic.
Researchers concluded that educating parents and providers would not change the usage of the emergency department for medically nonurgent visits since:
Researchers drew a number of recommendations from the study about services that primary-care clinics could provide that could lower emergency department use for non-emergencies: