News ID: 231064
Published: 0524 GMT September 09, 2018

Trips to ERs down, urgent care centers up for minor ills

Trips to ERs down, urgent care centers up for minor ills
PAULBR75/PIXABAY

For minor ills such as sore throats, privately insured Americans increasingly use urgent care centers rather than hospital emergency rooms, a new study found.

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston analyzed 2008-2015 data from Aetna, the commercial health insurance company, UPI reported.

"The drop in emergency department visits is quite striking and represents a substantial shift in where patients go to get care for conditions such as sore throat and minor injuries," study author and emergency physician Dr. Sabrina Poon said in a hospital news release.

Poon and her colleagues found a 36 percent decline in ER visits for minor conditions and injuries during the study period. Meanwhile, use of non-ER services — including urgent care clinics, retail clinics and telemedicine — rose 140 percent.

The largest increase (119 percent) in non-ER services was at urgent care centers, according to the study.

Given the high cost of emergency room care, many insurance plans encourage patients to go elsewhere for treatment of trivial problems, the researchers noted.

"The increasing popularity of alternatives to the emergency department is likely being driven by a variety of factors, including cost, convenience, and long wait times," said study coauthor Dr. Jay Schuur, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women's.

"In the next few years, it will be important to see how these trends evolve and whether the growth of alternative sites results in lower cost care or more use of medical care," Schuur said.

The findings were published in the Sept. 4 JAMA Internal Medicine.

 

   
KeyWords
 
Comments
Comment
Name:
Email:
Comment:
Security Key:
Captcha refresh
Page Generated in 0/0459 sec