Monday, November 1, 2010

Emergency Department as Primary Care

Walking in and out of work I usually take a door that goes by the Emergency department, and look to see how many people are in the waiting room, which gives me an idea of how busy the shift will be, on whatever floor they send me to that day. My shift starts late morning and if it is standing room only the docs will be writing patient discharge and admission orders, and the nurses and aides will be running around trying to get it done, which describes most days.  Then when I leave the ED always seems slower, just one of those optical illusions I guess.

Anyway, many of the patients using the ED are not here to be admitted, they are here to use it as a primary care visit for themselves, or their kids. If they had some kind of insurance they could go and see their general practitioner, get their prescription for ear drops or whatever, and be on their way.

Why are we clogging up the Emergency departments and stressing the staff with people who should be seen in a clinic, or as I remember a little office with a little waiting room and old magazines?


Anonymous said...

Interesting. I was talking with another med student last week and was surprised to hear they were considering going into Emergency Medicine. They said they thought the demand for ER physicians would be increasing given the state of health care, and patients increasingly having to use the ER for primary care. I'd never thought of it like that but I suppose they have a point. A sad, but true point.

NP Odyssey said...

It is sad.