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Am J Manag Care. 2018 May;24(5):225-231.

Impact of emergency physician-provided patient education about alternative care venues.

Author information

1
Department of Emergency Medicine, Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center, 1600 Eureka Rd, Roseville, CA 95661. Email: pankaj.patel@kp.org.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Interventions that focus on educating patients appear to be the most effective in directing healthcare utilization to more appropriate venues. We sought to evaluate the effects of mailed information and a brief scripted educational phone call from an emergency physician (EP) on subsequent emergency department (ED) utilization by low-risk adults with a recent treat-and-release ED visit.

STUDY DESIGN:

Patients were randomized into 3 groups for post-ED follow-up: EP phone call with mailed information, mailed information only, and no educational intervention. Each intervention group was compared with a set of matched controls.

METHODS:

We undertook this study in 6 EDs within an integrated healthcare delivery system. Overall, 9093 patients were identified; the final groups were the phone group (n = 609), mail group (n = 771), and matched control groups for each (n = 1827 and n = 1542, respectively). Analysis was stratified by age (<65 and ≥65 years). Patients were educated about available venues of care delivery for their future medical needs. The primary outcome was the rate of 6-month ED utilization after the intervention compared with the 6-month utilization rate preceding the intervention.

RESULTS:

Compared with matched controls, subsequent ED utilization decreased by 22% for patients 65 years or older in the phone group (P = .04) and by 27% for patients younger than 65 years in the mail group (P = .03).

CONCLUSIONS:

ED utilization subsequent to a low-acuity ED visit decreased after a brief post-ED education intervention by an EP explaining alternative venues of care for future medical needs. Response to the method of communication (phone vs mail) varied significantly by patient age.

PMID:
29851439
PMCID:
PMC6180915

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