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Parents' Preference for Emergency Department Revealed

Reasons include problems with primary care provider

TUESDAY, Nov. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Parents bring their children to the emergency department for non-urgent care rather than their primary care provider (PCP) for a variety of reasons including problems with their PCP, PCP referral, and perceived advantages to using the emergency department, according to a report released online in advance of publication in an upcoming issue of Academic Pediatrics.

Anne Berry, from Pennsylvania State College of Medicine in Hershey, and colleagues interviewed 31 parents (mean age 28 years) who brought their children (mean age 3 years) to the pediatric emergency department for non-urgent care on weekdays over a four-week period.

The researchers found that parents did not take their children to their PCP due to long appointment waits, dissatisfaction with their PCP, communication problems, PCP referral, efficiency, better resources in the emergency department, convenience, quality of care, and better emergency department expertise with children.

"Parents bring their children to the emergency department for non-urgent care because of problems with their PCP, PCP referral, and perceived advantages to emergency department care," Berry and colleagues conclude. "Although parents report that education on the urgency of pediatric conditions would be helpful, substantial reduction of pediatric non-urgent emergency department use may require improvements in families' PCP office access, efficiency, experiences and appointment scheduling."

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