New Market Research: High Utilizers Continue to Drain ER Resources;
Pain Management Patients on Rise

In their continued efforts to staunch the flow and expense of avoidable emergency department use, healthcare organizations targeted high utilizers as the population generating the majority of avoidable ER visits. Of this population, pain management was the most frequently presented problem, say the majority of respondents to the third annual Reducing Avoidable ER Visits in 2011 survey by The Healthcare Intelligence Network.

More organizations engaged primary care physicians (PCPs) in their efforts to reduce low-acuity ER visits, with 70 percent of respondents saying that notifying the PCP of their patients' ER visits was their preferred strategy.

Patient education continued to be the healthcare organizations' primary strategy for reducing avoidable ED visits, and hospitalists and health coaches joined the ranks of those hired to discourage these visits, alongside case managers, who continued to be integral parts of the solution both in the ER and the PCP's office.

About 20 percent of respondents said their programs had reduced avoidable ER visits by up to 10 percent.

More results from the survey are available in 2012 Benchmarks in Reducing Avoidable ER Visits; Pain Management on the Rise, a complimentary downloadable HIN white paper. 2012 Benchmarks in Reducing Avoidable ER Visits; Pain Management on the Rise

2012 Benchmarks in Reducing Avoidable ER Visits delivers actionable information from 134 healthcare organizations on their efforts to reduce inappropriate ED visits.

This 50-page report, now in its second year, is designed to meet business and planning needs of hospitals, health plans, physician practices and others by providing critical benchmarks that show how the industry is working to reduce avoidable hospital emergency department visits.

In addition, this second annual collection of data points on this aspect of ER utilization management presents year-over-year trends and suggests how to engage the primary care physician, urgent care centers and patient education tools in these efforts.

This report provides a wealth of statistics to help identify organizational strengths, weaknesses and opportunities:

  • Percentage of respondents with programs to more efficiently manage ER use;
  • Top populations contributing to avoidable ER use;
  • High utilizers or 'frequent flyers' of ER services and the conditions most frequently presented by high utilizers;
  • Dozens of successful strategies healthcare organizations are using to engage primary care physicians in ER utilization efforts;
  • Tactics employed at the hospital discharge to reduce the risk of ER visits by recently discharged patients;
  • The most effective staffing solutions to discourage inappropriate ER visits;
  • Program promotion and patient education ideas;
  • Sector-specific results from health plans and physician organizations that responded to this survey;
  • The complete October 2011 Reducing Avoidable ER Visits survey tool;
and much more.

New in the 2012 Edition: This all-new follow-up to the best-selling 2010 edition contains comparative 2010-over-2011 data on key activities, as well as new metrics on:

  • The use of hospitalists, health educators/coaches, case managers and social workers in ER UM programs;
  • Prevalence of predictive modeling, open access scheduling, narcotics contracts, telemonitoring and risk-stratified telephonic outreach among respondents;
  • The use of medication reviews as UM management strategy;
  • Presentation of upper respiratory infections (URI) in ERs;
  • Use of incentives, report cards and notifications of ER visits to engage primary care physicians in efforts.

For more about the report, including a complete table of contents and ordering information, please visit:

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