A Few Emergency Department Facts

I found this quick list of facts in HealthLeaders (May 2011) which I thought was worth sharing:

  • In 2008, 124.9M people visited an ER in the US.
  • More than 9 out of 10 ED visits were related to acute conditions.
  • Injuries comprised 1 in 4 ED visits for adults.
  • ED visits for people ages 65-74 have increased the most over the past decade and are projected to double from 2005 to 2013.
  • In 2007, 10% of the population under age 65 visited the ED for reasons that were considered non-urgent.
  • ED visits increased by nearly 22M between 1997-2007 (23% faster than the US population grew).

So, what’s the issue here:

  • Lack of access to care
  • Difficulty getting into a PCP or clinic during regular hours
  • A lack of understanding of how and when to use the ER
  • Increased anxiety about conditions
  • Putting off care until the last minute

Or, I guess the flipside of the coin is that this is ok. My impression has always been that the ER is overused and has lots of inappropriate use.

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