Emergency Department Use on Rise in US Healthcare

Despite evidence that people with chronic conditions such as asthma and heart failure are visiting EDs more frequently, the number of hospital admissions for these conditions has remained flat. The researchers said that trend suggests EDs may help to prevent some avoidable hospital admissions.

"Use of hospital emergency departments is growing faster than the use of other parts of the American medical system," Art Kellermann, MD, MPH, the study’s senior author and a senior researcher at RAND, said in a news release. "While more can be done to reduce the number of unnecessary visits to emergency rooms, our research suggests emergency rooms can play a key role in limiting growth of preventable hospital admissions."

RAND was asked by the Emergency Medicine Action Fund, a consortium of emergency medicine physician organizations, to develop a more-complete picture of how hospital EDs contribute to the U.S. healthcare system.

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A study from the RAND Corporation found that even though emergency departments (EDs) are often the most expensive treatment centers for Americans, they are having an increasing role in the US healthcare system. Nurse.com reports: