Reframe ED encounters to focus on patient needs

May 15, 2018
Medicare Web

A diagnosis in the emergency department (ED) is not always guaranteed, but reframing patient encounters can ensure patient needs are met, according to a study in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Diagnosing a patient can prove helpful for both the patient and care team, but diagnosing a patient’s condition does not always ensure the patient’s needs are met. Digging deeper to understand the needs of ED patients can lead to more patient-centered care, especially in instances when transitions home present challenges.

Researchers interviewed 30 patients by phone who were recently discharged from the ED at a large, urban teaching hospital and sought to understand patients’ expectations both in the ED and post-discharge. Many patients stated that they came to the ED seeking a diagnosis related to the symptoms they presented with as well as information about treatment for their symptoms. In addition, patients sought clear guidance related to diagnosis, treatment, and testing. Patients stated that in their minds a diagnosis was key to helping them understand their symptoms, treatment, and testing, according to Annals of Emergency Medicine.

The study concluded that while a diagnosis in the ED may not always be possible, the care team should work to address the needs of the patient, which may be feasible even without a diagnosis. Researchers recommended reframing patient encounters in the ED to focus on addressing specific patient needs rather than just looking to diagnose the patent as this can lead to better outcomes overall and more successful transitions home.

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