An Innovations Exchange Learning Community

An Innovations Exchange Learning Community

The AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange has identified reducing the use of emergency services for non-urgent conditions as a high-priority area.

For a variety of reasons, ranging from convenience to barriers in accessing primary care and other health care services, many patients seek treatment at the emergency department (ED) for non-urgent (often chronic) conditions that could be better handled in other settings. The most common diagnoses for high utilizers are behavioral health conditions (Jiang, et. al., 2014). This pervasive issue results in unnecessarily high costs of care and has significant consequences for both the patient and the health care system. Patients often receive fragmented care and inadequate management of underlying medical, behavioral, and psychosocial needs, while emergency services are overburdened and struggling with allocating limited resources.

Participants in the Emergency Services (ES) Learning Community, located in the Detroit metropolitan area, collaborated across systems and agencies to identify individuals who use emergency services frequently and connect them to more appropriate care in outpatient settings. The work of the LC built upon a cluster of select innovations from the Innovations Exchange (featured below) that were adapted in this local context.

Learning Community Aims

Aim #1:  Identify non-urgent/high utilizers of emergency services.

Aim #2:  Improve coordination between emergency medical services, emergency departments, primary care, behavioral health, and social services.

Aim #3:  Appropriately reduce non-urgent/high utilization of emergency services by exploring appropriate service delivery models to meet the target population’s needs.

To meet these aims, the AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange worked with a coalition of private and public organizations involved in the delivery of emergency medical services, behavioral and primary health care, and community support services in the Detroit metropolitan area. Participants received guidance and technical support from local stakeholders, experts, and innovators to help them implement strategies to reduce the non-urgent use of emergency services.

Learning Community Outcomes

In August 2016, the Innovations Exchange made available a ES Learning Community Two-Year Summary that describes the Learning Community’s accomplishments and outcomes.

Participating Organizations

Area Metropolitan Ambulance Authority (AMAA) (MedStar Mobile Healthcare) – Fort Worth, TX
Detroit Fire Department Emergency Medical Services (EMS) – Detroit, MI
Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority (DWMHA) – Detroit, MI
Health Centers Detroit Foundations, Inc. – Detroit, MI
Henry Ford Health System – Detroit, MI
Ingham County Health Department – Lansing, MI
Institute for Population Health (IPH) – Detroit, MI
Voices of Detroit Initiative (VODI) – Detroit, MI
Wayne State University – Detroit, MI

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