30 Oct Having A Primary Care Doctor Does Not Reduce ER Visits For Women’s Health Issues
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alfred Sacchetti, M.D.
Department of Emergency Medicine
Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, Camden, NJ
Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA
Medical Research: What is the background for this study?
Dr. Sacchetti: Much of the value of the “Affordable Care Act” is based on the concept that a primary care provider will limit the need for Emergency Department visits. Unfortunately, this has never been proven, particularly for women’s health issues. The purpose of our study was to determine if a relationship with a primary care provider did limit the need to access Emergency Department services.
Medical Research: What are the main findings?
Dr. Sacchetti: What our results demonstrated was that patients with a primary care Obstetrical / Gynecologic provider utilized the emergency department to the same extent as patients without a documented primary OB/GYN relationship. Patients with women’s health issues still required the services of the ED, even with an established primary care provider. What was very interesting was that Emergency Department use was not restricted to off hours in the evenings and on weekends. In fact the use of the ED occurred as much during the 9-5 hours on the weekdays as it did during other times. The majority of the ED visits were for ambulatory complaints, with most patients being discharged to home after their care.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Sacchetti: The major take home message in this report is that the Emergency Department remains an essential component of the health care system even as access to primary care grows. Simply having a primary care relationship will not eliminate the need for patients to utilize the Emergency Department, even for ambulatory problems.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Sacchetti: It is very clear that Emergency Medicine remains a key component of our health care system. What health policy makers need to recognize is that rather than trying to eliminate ED visits, access to Emergency Care should be incorporated as part of a cost effective health care program. There is tremendous value in having providers that are immediately available to patients and can treat evolving ambulatory conditions before they become major problems.
Alfred Sacchetti, M.D. (2015). Having A Primary Care Doctor Does Not Reduce ER Visits For Women’s Health Issues