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ED Woes Bad Today, Worse Tomorrow



Patient visits to the emergency department increased 60% faster than population growth in one seven-year period, researchers find. The study is instructive because it delves into the past to identify the causes of today’s overcrowding—and finds a couple of surprises.



2 comments on "ED Woes Bad Today, Worse Tomorrow"
chris thomson (7/13/2012 at 8:33 AM)

The volume of testing is also directly related to the 'new' role of emergency departments in this era of more comprehensive care in the ED. Many patients treated frugally for their acute care needs in the traditional realm of emergency medicine simply return for follow up since they lack primary care. The role of the emergency department has extended far beyond emergencies. The options are to ignore this need or move to accommodate this need, and accommodating this need for care has driven increased care intensity. The pressures in the emergency department must be evaluated in the context of the healthcare system and its inadequacies.
Gus Geraci, MD (7/12/2012 at 3:36 PM)

You end with, "How can we get doctors to order fewer tests?" That's similar to asking, "How can we get pilots to crash fewer planes?" The reasons for test ordering go way beyond the desire of the physician, and to decrease the burden of time testing takes requires a thorough analysis of why tests get ordered, many of which you listed. How about phrasing the question, "How can we decrease the number of unnecessary tests ordered?" Thus not blacing blame on physicians, but including all the reasons unnecessary tests are ordered.