Preventable ER Overutilization: Questions That Could Be Asked BEFORE Triage

Questions that triage nurses could gently ask before triage to save the state money and reduce non-urgent usage of the ER:

1. Have you contacted, or been to your PCP for your health/medical conditions?
If the member says no and has a low urgency event, they could be redirected easily before costing the hospital money.

2. Have you gone to Urgent Care?
If the member says no and has a low urgency event, they could be redirected easily before costing the hospital money.

3. Do you know about these resources [ provide a list of free non-urgent resources, including Urgent Care ]?
If the member says no and is redirected to a helpful resource, and has a low urgency event, they could be redirected and save the state and tax payer’s money and the hospital’s time, money and ER space.

What may be happening today in ER’s:
Hospitals and ER clinics have non-urgent visits triaged instead of deferring them prior to triage.

The result is, the hospital or clinic gets additional revenue from many non-urgent visits that could have been properly redirected (deferred) to free resources and outreach programs.

The Pressures in the Emergency Room
Nurses and physicians have to deal with a lot of troubled, sick people in the Emergency Department.

They don’t always have the right answer and there are a lot of pressures.

With a little training, every ER in the United States can properly redirect low-urgency visits and reduce needless overutilization:

Here is a video interview of a nurse sharing a day in the life of an ER nurse:

Attribution: Sean Hobson (CC)

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