Best Practices: High Emergency Department Utilization | February 2021 | Clinical Corner

Best Practices: High Emergency Department Utilization


  1. Provide 24/7 access to a clinical decision-maker.
    1. Avoid verbiage stating, “if this is an emergency, please hang up and call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room”.
    2. Encourage the patient to speak with the clinical decision-maker before seeking care.

  2. Provide outreach to patients who have had an urgent care visit or emergency department visit and schedule follow-up appointment as appropriate.

  3. Communicate appropriate use of after-hours care.
    1. Utilize patient education - “Is it an Emergency?”

  4. Provide high-risk patients your cell phone number to contact you directly before seeking care, offer a same-day appointment (or next day appointment if it is after hours) if appropriate, or direct them to the most appropriate next level of care. 

  5. Ensure open access schedule to accommodate same day/urgent care visits.

  6. Appropriate triage of patients upon call to the clinic, avoid staff sending the patient to ER unless agreed upon criteria met.

  7. For patients identified as “high-ED utilizers”:
    1. Complete SDOH screen (Social Determinants of Health)
    2.  Refer to MPP/MHPN Care Management
    3.  Develop personalized treatment/action plan with the patient.