Pines says that while these interventions have been shown to be effective, hospitals and health systems cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach to decreasing ED usage.
"It's important to say that what works in one setting may not work in another. The notion that healthcare interventions can be picked out of one setting and put in another is not necessarily true. It depends on the individual needs and resources of the patient populations, which can vary tremendously between communities," Pines says.
He is also quick to point out that simply decreasing ED usage should not be the total goal. Hospitals and health systems must also look for ways to increase the value of the care they deliver while always keeping a sharp focus on quality and outcomes, he says.
"Driving down ED care is good for insurance companies, but it may not be good for hospitals and it may not be good for patients, especially if patients don't get the care they need and end up getting worse," Pines says. "We need to create programs that reduce ED use and use across all care settings that doesn't add value. And we need to understand where increased utilization really enhances value to the patient."