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Improving care coordination and reducing ED utilization through patient navigation

Bakshi S, Carlson LC, Gulla J, Wang P, Helscel K, Yun BJ, Vogeli C, Flaster AO
Am J Manag Care

Objectives: Our study examines the impact of an emergency department (ED) patient navigation program for patients in a Medicaid accountable care organization across 3 hospitals in a large health system. Our program engages community health workers to (1) promote primary care engagement, (2) facilitate care coordination, and (3) identify and address patients' health-related social needs. STUDY DESIGN: Our study was a retrospective analysis of health care utilization and costs in the 30 days following the index ED visit, comparing individuals receiving ED navigation and matched controls. The primary outcome of interest was all-cause return ED visits, and our secondary outcomes were hospital admissions and completed primary care appointments. METHODS: Patients with ED visits who received navigation were matched to comparable patients with ED visits without an ED navigator interaction. Outcomes were analyzed using fixed effects logistic regression models adjusted for patient demographics, ED visit characteristics, and preceding utilization. Our primary outcome was odds of a return ED visit within 30 days, and our secondary outcomes were odds of a hospitalization within 30 days and odds of having primary care visit within 30 days. RESULTS: In our sample, there were 1117 ED visits by patients meeting our inclusion criteria with an ED navigator interaction, with 3351 matched controls. ED navigation was associated with 52% greater odds of a completed follow-up primary care appointment (odds ratio [OR], 1.52; 95% CI, 1.29-1.77). In patients with no ED visits in the preceding 6 months, ED navigation was associated with 32% decreased odds of repeat ED visits in the subsequent 30 days (OR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.52-0.90). There was no statistically significant impact on return ED visits in those with higher baseline ED utilization. CONCLUSIONS: Our program demonstrates that high-intensity, short-term patient navigation in the ED can help reduce ED visits in those with low baseline ED utilization and facilitate stronger connections with primary care.

Bakshi S, Carlson LC, Gulla J, Wang P, Helscel K, Yun BJ, Vogeli C, Flaster AO. Improving care coordination and reducing ed utilization through patient navigation. Am J Manag Care. 2022;28(5):201-206. DOI:10.37765/ajmc.2022.89140. PMID: 35546582

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Publication year
Resource type
Peer Reviewed Research
Outcomes
Utilization
Study design
Pre-post with Comparison Group