Seniors who consistently see the same physicians in outpatient settings are more likely to avoid emergency-room visits, according to a study by CMS and Dartmouth researchers and published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.
The researchers measured continuity of care based on two risk scores and found that patients who saw the same physician consistently were 20 percent less likely to go to the ER.
Those who did go to the ED were slightly more likely to be admitted to the hospital. The study suggested that patients with more continuity of care receive more appropriate ED referrals.
“Visits with the same physician or a small number of physicians fosters long-term relationships for Medicare patients, which is ultimately good for their health,” said David Nyweide, Ph.D., a researcher with CMS and lead author of the study, said in an announcement from the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).
FierceHealthcare noted that the number of ER visits has grown considerably in the past several years, blamed partly on an increasing number of non-emergency patients showing up there.
“Previous studies have shown that improving continuity of care could save Medicare as much as $600 billion each year by reducing frequently overused medical procedures, and limiting the rate of mortality linked to cardiovascular events,” Fierce reported.
To read the study, please hit this link.
To read a Fierce overview of the study, please hit this link.