Innovations to Reduce Non-Urgent Use of Emergency Services

Innovations to Reduce Non-Urgent Use of Emergency Services Wednesday, August 17, 2016

For a variety of reasons, ranging from convenience to barriers in accessing primary care and other services, many patients call emergency medical services (EMS) for non-urgent (often chronic) conditions. Yet often these individuals end up being transported by ambulance to—and treated in—the emergency department (ED), even though their medical issues could be handled more effectively and efficiently in outpatient care settings.

Emergency medical service providers, community organizations, and other stakeholders are working together to implement innovative strategies to reduce non-urgent use of emergency services, connect patients to more appropriate care, and reduce costs.

The featured Innovations describe how an ambulance provider redesigned its emergency medical services system to create new care and referral pathways for 911 callers not facing true emergencies; a community paramedic program that significantly reduced unnecessary 911 calls from a local shelter and enhanced access to primary care for shelter residents; and a city EMS program that used a multipronged strategy to reduce unnecessary ambulance transports and ED visits, connecting non-emergent patients to primary care.
The featured QualityTools include resources for reducing inappropriate emergency department use and tools to support community paramedicine programs.
This issue also includes a featured Perspective, Convening a Learning Community to Reduce Non-Urgent Use of Emergency Services, based on an interview with the Innovations Exchange ES Learning Community's champion and expert faculty. Representatives of nine organizations in the Detroit, MI metropolitan area worked collaboratively to adapt a cluster of select innovations from the Innovations Exchange in their local context.

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