About Half of Americans Get Health Care in ER

From Drugs.com - November 3, 2017

About Half of Americans Get Health Care in ER

FRIDAY, Nov. 3, 2017 -- When Americans need medical care, almost one in two people choose the emergency room, a new study reveals.

"I was stunned by the results. This really helps us better understand health care in this country," said Dr. David Marcozzi. He is an associate professor in the University of Maryland's department of emergency medicine.

"This research underscores the fact that emergency departments are critical to our nation's health care delivery system," Marcozzi said in a university news release.

"Patients seek care in emergency departments for many reasons. The data might suggest that emergency care provides the type of care that individuals actually want or need, 24 hours a day," he added.

The analysis of data from several national sources showed that there were more than 3.5 billion emergency department visits, outpatient visits, and hospital admissions during the 1996 to 2010 study period.

U.S. emergency department visits increased by nearly 44 percent over the 14-year period, the findings showed. Outpatient cases accounted for nearly 38 percent of visits, and inpatient care accounted for almost 15 percent of visits.

In 2010, there were nearly 130 million emergency department visits, compared with almost 101 million outpatient visits and nearly 39 million inpatient visits, according to the report.

Black Americans were much more likely to seek emergency department care than other racial/ethnic groups. In 2010, black people used the emergency department almost 54 percent of the time. The rate was even higher for black people in cities, at 59 percent, the researchers said.


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