Emergency departments (EDs) have become the primary source of care for increasing number of patients, leading to treatment of nonemergent cases, which divert resources from true emergency situations and represent poor cost-effectiveness for treating such cases. There is evidence that suggests that patient navigation
(PN) integrated into the ED and other case management techniques can help reduce the number of primary care–related ED visits and these navigation
programs are more cost-effective than the ED visits themselves. The Greater New Orleans Community Health Connection Primary Care Capacity Project Quality Improvement Initiative (GNOPQii) is a pilot project aimed at improving the efficiency of PN for patients who have had avoidable ED encounters or inpatient readmissions through applied data and technology program.
Partnering Federally Qualified Health Centers
were equipped with actionable ED utilization data to integrate with their own patient clinical data to track patient ED activity. The pilot design also included the use of patient navigators to address the nonclinical cultural and behavioral barriers to care. As part of the overall evaluation, comparisons of data utilization and PN services pre- and post-GNOPQii were conducted.
A total of 337 referrals were made, and 145 patients were enrolled into the GNOPQii pilot program. The direct services needed the most by patients were transportation and medication resources. Of those who enrolled (N = 145), 63 patients graduated, meaning program compliance and 90 days without visits to the ED, resulting in a 43% success rate.
If an estimated $1898 savings for every nonemergency ED encounter replaced by an office-based encounter is applied to our results, the GNOPQii program contributed to a minimum of $119 574.00 savings even if only 1 deterred ED visit per graduate is assumed. Future research is needed to systematically test the efficacy of GNOPQii in reducing nonemergent ED visits.