It would seemingly make sense that diverting low need patients from emergency departments would curb overcrowding, but does it actually meet its aim?
Canadian research suggests there’s no clear evidence that it does – or that it’s safe.
Research published online in Emergency Medicine Journal held that despite the costs involved in providing alternative sources of care, there is little good quality evidence backing up the approach.
The researchers pooled data from 15 studies evaluating the impact of redirecting patients to alternative sources of care before reaching, or once in, an emergency care department.
They concluded that there was no strong evidence for or against the move.
On top of this, they said the overall quality of the published evidence was not particularly good.
“At this time there is insufficient evidence to recommend the implementation of diversion protocols as effective and safe strategies to address emergency department overcrowding,” they wrote.
In a linked podcast, lead author Dr Brian Rowe from the University of Alberta, said he wasn’t sure the efforts involved in diversions are “really worth all the costs, time, and surveillance”.
The juice might not be worth the squeeze, he said.Do you have an idea for a story?
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