Emergency Department: Effectiveness of a Referral Intervention for High Utilizers

Tina Jee Yung Kang-Lim, George Fox University


Abstract This research examined the impact of a referral intervention for patients with high utilization of the Emergency Department (ED) for non-­‐emergent care. The referral intervention was offered by the ED provider who provided the patient with feedback regarding their utilization along with a referral to outpatient services including: primary care physicians, mental health services, and brochure of available resources in the local area. This study used archival retrospective data, and compared frequency of ED visits pre-­‐ intervention and referral to post-­‐intervention frequency of visits and length of time between intervention and next visit. Following the intervention, the participants were classified as either responders or non-­‐responders based on their recidivism. An independent sample t-­‐test showed that the responder group had a significant decrease in number of visits to the ED during the post-­‐intervention period. Additionally, the responders had a significantly longer lag time before they returned to the ED as compared to the non-­‐responders. The referral did not significantly increase patients’ visits to their primary care physician/behavioral health consultant. Therefore brief-­‐ED based intervention may be useful in reducing recidivism in the ED.