Parents Often Choose ER for Routine Kids’ Care

From US News and World Report:

Parents who take their kids to the emergency room for non-urgent care aren’t doing it to abuse the system.

Instead, they’re doing so because they have concerns and questions about the care and attention they receive at primary care physicians’ offices.

So finds a new study published in the journal Academic Pediatrics. Often, primary care physicians (PCPs) actually refer patients to a hospital emergency department (ED), the researchers found.

“There were three main reasons parents gave [for taking children to the ED for non-urgent concerns] — problems with the PCP, referral from the PCP, and advantages of care in the emergency department,” said study co-author Dr. Jane M. Brotanek, assistant professor of pediatrics and Robert Wood Johnson Physician Faculty Scholar at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

But there’s a price to pay for overloaded emergency departments. “If there’s an overwhelming number of ED visits, that can cause problems: longer waits, demands on ED staff, adverse events due to delays in care,” Brotanek said.

Healthcare Workers and Flu Shots

From the Washington Post:

Simple logic would make you think that health-care workers, most of whom have more education in health and medical issues than other people, would be more likely to be vaccinated. But since 1997 the vaccination rate among health-care workers nationwide has remained around the same depressing 40 percent. That is more than 20 percentage points lower than the average for the largest at-risk group, adults older than 65.