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February 7, 2014 (Jacksonville, FL): New data is coming in on how providing insurance to previously uninsured Americans may affect their health related behavior. With the new data, there are also debates about the costs and benefits of providing healthcare, and about the potential unnecessary overuse of healthcare resources, particularly when it comes to the use of Emergency Room services (ER).
However, according to Charu Raheja, Phd CEO of TriageLogic, and author of a recent study on patient ER usage “We need to take a broader look at the decision making process of patients in order to evaluate their usage of emergency care. One of the additional factors that needs to be considered is the patients’ understanding of the appropriate level of care for their symptoms.”
In order to evaluate patient’s understanding of the appropriate venue to receive care, Dr. Raheja conducted a study comparing patients’ response about the level of care that they thought that they required for their symptom against the level of care that a trained nurse triage instructed the patient to get. All the nurses used standardized medical protocols. On average, about 70% of the patients who thought that they needed to go to the ER were instructed to a lower level of care. Overall, government insured patients were more likely to make an incorrect decision about their required level of care without assistance from a medical professional.
The study also showed that over 10% of the government insurance patients who did not think that they needed emergent care were instructed to seek immediate help. According to Cyndi Heaton, RN, BSN a TriageLogic nurse manager, “Patients are sometimes surprised when we tell them that they need immediate care, but getting the help they need can prevent more health problems in the long run.”
For more details about the research study, please go to RES-Government_Insurance_Study-02-04-2014.pdf