Effectiveness of case management strategies in reducing emergency department visits in frequent user patient populations: a systematic review

J Emerg Med. 2013 Mar;44(3):717-29. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2012.08.035. Epub 2012 Nov 29.


Background: Case management (CM) is a commonly cited intervention aimed at reducing Emergency Department (ED) utilization by "frequent users," a group of patients that utilize the ED at disproportionately high rates. Studies have investigated the impact of CM on a variety of outcomes in this patient population.

Objectives: We sought to examine the evidence of the effectiveness of the CM model in the frequent ED user patient population. We reviewed the available literature focusing on the impact of CM interventions on ED utilization, cost, disposition, and psychosocial variables in frequent ED users.

Discussion: Although there was heterogeneity across the 12 studies investigating the impact of CM interventions on frequent users of the ED, the majority of available evidence shows a benefit to CM interventions. Reductions in ED visitation and ED costs are supported with the strongest evidence.

Conclusion: CM interventions can improve both clinical and social outcomes among frequent ED users.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Case Management / organization & administration*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / economics
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Status
  • Hospital Costs
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Models, Organizational
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States