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Helpline calls associated with preventable emergency department utilization

R. Garg, J.T. Steensma, A.A. Luke, K. Huang, B. Golla, R. Greer, K.E. Joynt Maddox
Am J Prev Med

Introduction: Unmet social needs are linked with greater healthcare utilization, but most studies lack timely and granular data on these needs. The 2-1-1 helpline is a telephone helpline focused on social needs. The objective of the study is to determine whether the number of 2-1-1 requests per 1,000 people is associated with preventable emergency department visits and compare the strength of the association with another commonly used predictor, Area Deprivation Index.
Methods: This cross-sectional study linked 2-1-1 requests to emergency department visits from uninsured and Medicaid-insured patients by ZIP code for a large urban hospital system from January 1, 2016 to August 31, 2019. Negative binomial regression analysis was used to estimate the association of 2-1-1 service requests and Area Deprivation Index with preventable emergency department visits.
Results: A total of 233,146 preventable emergency department visits and 520,308 2-1-1 requests were analyzed. For every 1-SD increase in 2-1-1 requests per 1,000 population, preventable emergency department visits increased by a factor of 3.05, even after controlling for local area deprivation and other population characteristics (p<0.001).
Conclusions: Requests to 2-1-1 helplines are strongly associated with preventable emergency department visits. This information may help hospital leaders and policymakers target social needs interventions to the neighborhoods with the greatest need.

Garg R, Steensma JT, Luke AA, et al. Helpline calls associated with preventable emergency department utilization. Am J Prev Med. 2021 Nov;61(5):729-732. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2021.04.022. Epub 2021 Jun 29. PMID: 34210582.

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Publication year
Resource type
Peer Reviewed Research
Outcomes
Utilization
Population
Medicaid-insured
Social Determinant of Health
Not Specified
Study design
Other Study Design