A patient with an urgent need for urgent medical care could reach out to a trusted health care professional to find out if he or she is eligible for an appointment at the emergency department, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Maryland found that about a third of patients in their study had been referred to health care professionals who had no experience with urgent care.
They surveyed 1,500 people aged 18 to 65 who had experienced an emergency department visit within the past year and who were seeking care for a medical problem or health issue.
The survey also asked people to provide their health care providers with a list of medical conditions, including those that they believed could affect the patient’s health and well-being.
Researchers found that those who reported they were referred to a health professional by a trusted source were more likely to be referred to an emergency room than those who did not report being referred to any health care agency.
They were also more likely than those with no experience of emergency department visits to be treated at a hospital or clinic.
More than half of the patients surveyed indicated that they had been contacted by a health provider in the past six months.
The most common reasons given for referral to the health care worker were urgent medical needs and being in danger.
“If someone has an urgent medical condition that could affect their quality of life, or if they have an injury that could prevent them from getting to the hospital or a clinic, or any other emergency situation, they may need urgent care services,” said Dr. Andrew D. Brown, associate professor of medicine and director of the Center for Emergency Medicine at the University’s College of Medicine.
“The idea is that this kind of information is going to be important to the patient and will help the physician and the patient to better understand what is going on and how to get the care they need.”
Researchers say this is a first step in the field of healthcare access, where patients and their doctors can connect to trusted healthcare professionals, and learn about what is happening in their lives.
Brown and his colleagues suggest that the health information the health professionals provide could be used to inform patients and doctors about the most appropriate care for their specific needs.
The study was published in the March issue of Medical News today.