Emergency Department Overuse

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Reasons, Impacts, and Potential Solutions to the Overuse of Emergency Department Service Introduction The different departments of a hospital incorporate various services that aim to improve the health of those who seek care. Preventative care, primary care, rehabilitation services, psychiatric services, surgical services, and so on that do their part to ensure patients are living a health and making health lifestyle choices. The emergency department is no different. The primary purpose of the emergency department is to treat patients with acute serious illness or injury which would result in disability or death if not treated quickly (NSW.Gov.au, n.d.). Unfortunately, emergency departments services are being overused and misused by…show more content…
Both O’Shea and NEHI are correct in their statements. When non-emergent patients seek care in the emergency departments, waiting increases for those less acute patients. Emergency departments triage patients to determine which patients have the more serve cases. Those patients are brought back to been seen first, and those less urgent patients end up waiting to be seen (NEHI, 2008). All of these excess patients leads to overcrowding in the waiting room, but also in the emergency department (O’Shea, 2007). To help increase the rate of patients processed through the emergency room, many facilities have implemented hallway beds and chair rooms for the less acute patients. This adds to the overcrowding as well (O’Shea, 2007). When the emergency department is full, they will usually go on ambulance diversion which means that an ambulance that is caring a patient to the emergency department needs to head to another emergency department (O’Shea, 2007). This can lead to negative patient outcomes because tests and care that could save the patient’s life are delayed because the ambulance had to travel to another emergency department which may be miles away (O’Shea, 2007). The increased patient load means that the emergency department staff has to work that…show more content…
Patient education, tele-medicine, expanding urgent care and primary care hours, urgent care departments, and co-pays in combination could help curb the number of non-emergent visits. Overuse of the emergency department causes overcrowding, ambulance diversion, long waiting times, frustrated staff, and cost inflation. These impacts are caused by inconvenient urgent care clinic and primary care office hours, quick results, emergency department referrals from urgent care clinics and primary care providers, EMTALA, and finally lack of co-pay. If the number of emergency department visits are decreased, staff can focus on caring for those who have life threatening conditions, and could result in cost savings for the entire healthcare

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