Emergency department visit reduction programs

Added April 27, 2020

Citation: Raven MC, Kushel M, Ko MJ, et al. The effectiveness of emergency department visit reduction programs: a systematic review. Annals of Emergency Medicine 2016; 68(4): 467-83

What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a strain on healthcare systems. Existing research into ways to reduce unnecessary Emergency Department (ED) visits might inform policies and actions to ease this.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for research into programs designed to reduce ED visits that had been conducted in the USA. They restricted their search to studies published in English between 1 January 2003 and 31 December 2014. They included 13 studies that they rated as moderate to high quality, which had assessed programs focusing on high-risk populations (4 studies) and low-acuity visits (9).

What works: Case management for high-risk populations with frequent use of the ED reduced ED visits.

What doesn’t work: Nothing noted.

What’s uncertain: Although ED co-payments might reduce ED visits among low acuity patients, the results were conflicting for some populations.

The cost-effectiveness and effectiveness of many programs intended to reduce ED visits is uncertain.


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