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FACP. Colegio de médicos de Tarragona Nº 4305520 / fgcapriles@gmail.com




Monday, September 12, 2016

Vulnerable Patient Population

emDocs - September 8, 2016 - Authors: Palmer-Smith V and Setrakian A
Edited by: Koyfman A and Alerhand S
"Emergency medicine providers treat patients living under difficult circumstances every day. Patients with limited resources use the ED for emergent and non-emergent conditions because ED’s are always open, reside on a bus route, can be accessed via EMS, do not require health insurance or payment up front, and have resources that free-standing clinics may not. Failure to recognize these circumstances can lead to missed diagnoses, worsening of a patient’s condition, and failure to follow up. For the provider, meanwhile, these issues can prompt bias, dissatisfaction, and burnout. For the health care system it means repeat visits, late diagnoses, and increased costs of care.
It is thus imperative for patient, provider, and population alike to understand the complexity of these cases and address more than just the medical issues at hand. In some cases, it may even make sense to prioritize intervention for social needs over medical therapy. Addressing a patient’s homelessness, for instance, over their more chronic medical concerns, may result in better health outcomes for the patient and lower overall costs for the healthcare system. Limited resources have yet to be published with regard to this topic, providing guidance and a systematic approach to this population. Here, we will discuss individual provider and department/hospital-level recommendations."