OBJECTIVES: This study sought to determine the rate of emergency department use among the elderly and examined whether that use is reduced if the patient has a principal-care physician. METHODS: The Health Care Financing Administration’s National Claims History File was used to study emergency department use by Medicare patients older than 65 years in Washington State during 1994. RESULTS: A total of 18.1% of patients had 1 or more emergency department visits during the study year; the rate increased with age and illness severity. Patients with principal-care physicians were much less likely to use the emergency department for every category of disease severity. After case mix, Medicaid eligibility, and rural/urban residence were controlled for, the odds ratio for having any emergency department visit was 0.47 for patients with a generalist principal-care physician and 0.58 for patients with a specialist principal-care physician. CONCLUSIONS: The rate of emergency department use among the elderly is substantial, and most visits are for serious medical problems. The presence of a continuous relationship with a physician–regardless of specialty–may reduce emergency department use.
Authors:Rosenblatt RA, Wright GE, Baldwin LM
Journal/Publisher:Am J Public Health
Edition:Jan 2000. 90(1):97-102
Link to ArticleAccess the article here: Am J Public Health
Citation:Rosenblatt RA, Wright GE, Baldwin LM. The Effect Of The Doctor-patient Relationship On Emergency Department Use Among The Elderly. Am J Public Health. Jan 2000 90(1):97-102
Related Studies:The Emergency Care of the Rural Elderly