Reconnecting patients with their primary care provider: an intervention for reducing nonurgent pediatric emergency department visits

Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2014 Sep;53(10):988-94. doi: 10.1177/0009922814540987. Epub 2014 Jul 8.


Objective: Intervention to reduce nonurgent pediatric emergency department (PED) visits over a 12-month follow-up.

Methods: Prospective, randomized, controlled trial enrolled children seen in the PED for nonurgent concerns. Intervention subjects received a structured session/handout specific to their primary care provider (PCP), which outlined ways to obtain medical advice. Visitation to the PED and PCP were followed over 12 months.

Results: A total of 164 patients were assigned to the intervention and 168 patients to the control. At 12-month follow-up, the intervention group had a lower rate of nonurgent PED utilization compared with the control group (70 [43%] patients in the intervention compared with 91 [54%] in the control; P = .047). At 12 months, there was an increase in the rate of sick visits to PCP in the intervention group when compared with the control (P = .036).

Conclusions: Intervention designed in cooperation with pediatricians was able to decrease nonurgent PED utilization and redirect patients to their PCP for future sick visits over a 12-month period.

Keywords: emergency department use; health care utilization.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Counseling*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Services Misuse*
  • Hospitals, Pediatric / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Office Visits*
  • Parents / education
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Tertiary Care Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • United States