Emergency Department Literature Review

A literature review was conducted of studies on sub-optimal use of Emergency Departments published between 2001 and 2008. Each study provided a unique perspective on the question of why people use the ED. For ease of reference, the papers are categorized into:



There is an underlying assumption that the majority of the issues of sub-optimal ED use stemmed from use by uninsured patients with Medicaid patients following closely behind. Since these populations overlap with the working poor, the immigrant population and non-whites, they have often been cited as ‘the cause ‘of many of the ills in the ED including long wait times and overcrowding. The studies highlighted in  Characteristics of the ED User provide alternative view points on the truth of this assumption.


Is overcrowding caused by inappropriate use of the ED? Studies highlighted in Overcrowding in the ED attempt to answer this question as well as identify population factors contributing to the problem and solutions to curb this issue. Papers reviewed in Utilization Patterns of Consumers of the ED looked at the driving factors influencing the choice of the ED over primary care. Convenience, barriers to access for primary care and insurance status are some of the factors identified.