The effect of the doctor-patient relationship on emergency department use among the elderly

  • Abstract

    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 Article

    Access 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