Crimson Labs

A two-pronged approach to managing your population of frequent ED users

by Brett Erhardt

Emergency department (ED) costs and utilization are on the rise. With a renewed focus on capacity constraints along with a new focus on accountable payment models, managing overutilization in your ED is now more important than ever.

One of the first areas that we see members target is their frequent user population. Looking across our Crimson database, the top 5% of ED users account for 22% of total ED visits. Given that these patients constitute about a quarter of your ED volume and are known to spend significantly across the care continuum, they represent a sizeable opportunity.

  • Register now for a webconference on Sept. 25 to explore how to optimize your ED performance.
Percentile of frequent ED users % of total ED visits Visits per user
Top 1% 8% 15.8
Top 5% 22% 8.4
Top 10% 32% 6.3
Top 25% 54% 4.2

While it's important to focus on these patients, many of our members have a skewed vision of the demographics that make up their frequent users. Research shows that each organization has their own unique, susceptible patient population who present challenges to the ED, but that these patients might not be who you suspect.

How do you effectively identify your frequent users? How do you make that identification actionable? The Crimson Labs team suggests two approaches.


Identify your frequent users

In order to identify your frequent users, you need to determine not only who these patients are, but also the conditions for which they are being treated.

The Crimson platform offers a number of tools to analyze your ED population. By using the NYU Wagner model for avoidable ED utilization, Crimson can show what percentage of ED visits were potentially unnecessary based on the following questions:

  • Could they have been handled in a primary care physician’s office?
  • Were they necessary but could have been avoided with better patient management?
  • Were they altogether unnecessary?

Having this insight allows for better visibility and planning around specific conditions that are driving traffic to your ED.


Determine where your frequent users are being treated

After defining who your frequent users are, you need to understand where these patients are going to receive treatment—retail clinics, primary care physician offices, or potentially multiple EDs. Unfortunately, this can be a complicated issue since patients aren't necessarily loyal to one ED and most ED administrators and physicians don’t have access to complete data for patients across the care continuum.

Crimson can give you a complete picture of potential care management opportunities by identifying which facilities, physicians, or sites of care your frequent users are visiting.

  • More on optmizing ED performance


    Join us on for a webconference on Sept. 25 to learn how your peers are using Crimson to transform the emergency department into a highly efficient, dynamic entity capable of coordinating care across the continuum. Register.


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