Monday, October 3, 2005

Was reading the Freakonomics blog today, and I had like fifty entries to go through.

In any case, one entry in particular interested me about waiting hours in the ER:
"Emergency rooms serve as the front lines in the world of medicine. Many (most?) visits to ERs are not emergencies at all, but rather, routine visits by people with limited access to health care. As a consequence, waiting for hours to be seen is not uncommon. Forced to take all patients, the ER raises the "price" by making you wait."

(As a side note, the blog entry highlights a study that showed that ER visits drop when championship baseball games are played.
"An obvious conclusion is that people would rather watch a good baseball game than go to the emergency room. Also obvious is that some people who go to the ER could just as well visit their doctor. "
)

I have no doubt that emergency room visits are one reason why health care costs are soaring in the U.S. (along with a host of other inefficiencies.)

How many times are there when an unexpected health issue crops up -- unexpected, but maybe not URGENT exactly, but you want to get it taken care of right away, because when you aren't feeling well... who wouldn't want to feel better soon?

Why aren't there more "urgent care" centers for non-emergency care, but where you can drop in for a quick visit to get something looked at? Like if your throat is killing you, and it's obviously not life threatening, but it would be great to have someone look at it.

I do have a primary care doctor, but how many of us have established relationships with our doctors?

It seems that having a mix of real emergency issues and not-so-urgent issues all dealt with in one place causes a lot of inefficiency and results in additional costs for everyone (monetary and not.)