Studies have shown that a major problem in the healthcare industry today is the overuse of emergency departments in the cases where non-urgent care is necessary. A 2016 survey showed that approximately one third of American patients chose to go to the emergency room even though their case is not an emergency. A popular news story that emerged from Florida confirms the statistic.
Eric Forsthoefel, who is an emergency physician, witnessed many non-urgent cases at Bixler Trauma & Emergency Center. When interviewed he explain that this is a problem due to the fact that there is a lack of access to the primary care medicine, which forces many patient to seek help at the Emergency Department. Regardless of the issue, it is the doctor’s duty to provide care to all patients, and every patient will be tended to by a physician, nurses, and support staff, but the increasing number of non-urgent cases are stretching the hospital resources and makes it difficult to manage crisis situations when patients do need immediate attention.
Many surveys and studies confirm Dr. Forsthoefel’s statement about why patients chose to get help from the emergency room. In 2005, a survey asked ER doctors to give their opinion on the issue and many have said that patients choose the ER because appointments with primary care physicians and the fact that they are not open on weekends is a huge factor for a lot of patients.
Dr. Forsthoefel declared that emergency departments are working harder in order to remain efficient and provide the best care possible. He notes that it is difficult to maintain a patient flow, and that time and resources are being diverted to non-emergent conditions, despite the fact that they are intended to be used for acute cases.
Despite the misconception that patient in the ERs are largely uninsured, studies have shown that approximately 80% of non-urgent cases in the ER rooms in the state of Florida involve people who do have insurance. As a result of research, the best solutions for reducing non-urgent care in ERs is making primary care, as well as other alternatives, more convenient.