Reducing Avoidable Emergency Department Use

Compendium of 15 tactics to expand patient access and coordinate complex care


ModerateInternational Relevance: This research report, originally produced for our US members, houses current emergency department (ED) utilisation trends, the business case to right-size ED use, and a roadmap of successful ED avoidance strategies. Most non-US members will find this information quite useful as is, but certain examples that rely heavily on primary care ownership may be less applicable to certain international members.

Reducing Avoidable Emergency Department Use

Non-emergent and primary care-treatable ED visits make up a significant portion of avoidable ED volumes. Many of these patients lack access to alternative care or assume the ED is the only place that can effectively meet their care needs.

Further, a small percentage of complex patients make up a significant proportion of ED use. These patients tend to have a range of medical and psychosocial needs and rely on many health care resources, including the ED.

To address the cost and quality implications of avoidable ED utilizsation, population health managers deploy a range of tactics aimed at increasing patient access to care, educating patients about appropriate use of health services, and developing targeted programmes for frequent users. This research report compiles 15 tactics to meet these objectives and reduce avoidable ED utilizsation.

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