Targeting Super Utilizers Can Reduce Emergency Room Visits

Julie Shenkman
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"Super utilizers" undoubtedly put a significant burden on the American health care system by lining up in emergency rooms all over the United States, placing a massive financial burden on the government annually. However, if super utilizers are targeted and offered the right forms of health care and preventive treatment early, then emergency room visitation statistics can decrease.

Early Intervention to Catch Sickness

Early treatment of chronic diseases and conditions as soon as they appear can keep super utilizers from running to the hospital at the last minute. Pairing super utilizers with primary care doctors make early intervention possible. By performing a series of tests and preventive exams on a regular basis, physicians can identify individuals who may develop certain health conditions and target those who already suffer from major health risks. Other patients may receive vaccinations and other cutting-edge treatments to prevent sickness from occurring or progressing. When symptoms are handled with the proper treatment, then emergency room visits dwindle.

Pinpointing High-Risk Individuals

By flagging patients who visited the emergency room multiple times a year, hospitals were able to pinpoint patients with potentially complex health issues. More hospitals are making the commitment to observe and provide wholesome recommendations for the super utilizers in the patient population. When these patients were contacted for closer medical review, many of them appeared to be suffering from easily diagnosable conditions and major health risks. Most of the patients spontaneously went to the emergency room to get treated for the symptoms of illnesses that they were unaware they had.

Offering Powerful Health Care Programs

Placing super utilizers on special health care programs is fundamental to reduce emergency room visits as well. When these patients become active participants in local health and wellness programs, they find it easier to make the health, exercise and dietary changes necessary for vibrant living. Other programs that are designed to educate patients concerning the proper use of their insurance and medical benefits are also helpful.

Reducing Medical Anxiety

Some patients wonder if there is something seriously wrong with them when they feel sudden pain or discomfort. This frequently causes them to run to the nearest emergency room for a professional medical opinion. When a patient has a genuine understanding of what conditions plagues him, it can decrease some of the medical anxiety that patients have. By giving patients honest, straightforward feedback about their health in a timely manner, it reduces the medical anxiety that causes patients who are unaware of their health status to make impromptu hospital visits for treatment.

Central cities such as Cleveland, Baltimore and Camden that harbor a large population of super utilizers can use effective patient classification and diagnosis methods to keep patients out of the emergency room and in the doctor's office at the appropriate time. As super utilizers start to receive the treatment and information necessary for better health and peace of mind, clinics can expect shorter lines in the urgent care division.

Photo courtesy of digidreamgrafix at



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