The other side of the emergency room curtain

From the Chicago Tribune:

When you’re in the ER alone, do you ever listen to what happens on the other side of the curtain? And afterward, what do you tell yourself about what you’ve heard?

Is emergency room care actually a great deal?

From the Washington Post’s WonkBlog:

Health care delivered in the emergency room is often derided as expensive and inefficient, the source of our health spending woes. Physician Robert O’Connor has a different way to describe emergency medicine: An incredibly good deal.

O’Connor chairs the department of emergency medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. As an emergency room doctor, he is not unbiased in defending the work he and his colleagues do. He’s also pretty tired of all the rhetoric about emergency rooms as the health spending culprit.

He says that ERs only account for 2 percent of all health care spending—and argues that patients actually get tons of bang for their buck.

“It represents a remarkable value that we have this service available at all times, in all parts of the country, for every citizen,” he told reporters during a press conference at the Association of Emergency Care Physicians’ annual meeting.

ACEP: Most ED ‘Frequent Fliers’ Need to Be There

From MedPage Today:

People who use the emergency department (ED) frequently generally are not abusing the system, researchers suggested.

According to several studies presented at the meeting of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) in Denver, most patients with one or more return visits to the ED are seeking such care appropriately.

In addition, the minority of ED patients are frequent users — ranging from 2.1% to 19.9% in the studies presented at the meeting, depending on the definition — although such patients do account for a disproportionate percentage of the visits (11.5% to 39.7%).

Lack of long-term-care beds overwhelms ER

From SouthShoreNow:

A lack of long-term-care beds has overwhelmed the South Shore Regional Hospital’s emergency room, and there’s apparently no end in sight to the chronic problem.

“It’s all entirely dependent on any movement freeing up long-term-care beds,” said spokeswoman Liz Finney on October 4, the day after announcing the emergency department was over capacity and non-critical patients were urged to seek help elsewhere.

“We’ve been in this situation a number of times since August.”

Last week, vice-president of Health Services Janet Simm said the emergency department had a high number of patients waiting for admission, but no beds available to move them into.

“The situation is compounded by our having a high number of medically discharged patients waiting for long-term-care facility beds. In fact, we have seen this number double in the past year.”


Telemonitoring for BP Control Can Work

Editor’s Note: Pharmacists

From MedPage Today:

An intensive blood pressure telemonitoring program comprising a system that sends BP readings to a pharmacist case manager and also includes phone consults had high compliance, researchers found.