Reducing Avoidable Emergency Department Visits

A Guide for Primary Care

In a program led by the Greater Detroit Area Health Council, primary care practices in the Oakland Southfield Physicians Practice Association took low-tech, common-sense steps to reduce emergency department (ED) visits for primary care-treatable conditions from 49 visits per 1,000 patients to 7.3 visits per 1,000.

This guide for primary care practices provides lessons from Detroit on reducing avoidable ED visits and was developed in partnership with the Greater Detroit Area Health Council as part of its work with Aligning Forces for Quality, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s signature effort to lift the overall quality of health care in 16 targeted communities across America.

Quality Field Notes: ED Use Graphic

Resources on Reducing Avoidable ED Use


Encouraging Appropriate Use of the Emergency Department

This issue brief presents key lessons about what’s working in Aligning Forces for Quality communities to reduce emergency department overuse.

Read the brief
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.

Check out the resources
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.

Read the case studies

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.

Read the interview