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Repeat ED Visits for Opioid-Related Emergencies on the Rise

Health information exchanges may enable more efficient care for patients seeking care in multiple EDs

THURSDAY, March 5, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Emergency departments are increasingly seeing patients for repeat opioid-related care, according to a study recently published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Casey P. Balio, from Indiana University in Indianapolis, and colleagues used data from a statewide regional health information exchange system to identify emergency department encounters from four Indiana hospital systems (2012 to 2017). Prevalence, trends, and factors associated with repeat emergency department encounters for opioid usage were evaluated.

The researchers found that the prevalence of repeat, nonfirst opioid-related emergency department encounters increased from 9 percent of all opioid encounters in 2012 to 34.3 percent in 2017. Subsequent encounters were significantly predicted by the number of previous opioid-related encounters, unique institutions at which the individual had had encounters, having heroin-related encounters, having a benzodiazepine prescription filled within 30 days before the encounter, and being either Medicaid-insured or uninsured (versus private insurance).

“Consolidating patient information from multiple emergency departments can improve risk assessment and help identify more opportunities to provide patients with treatment, particularly those who have multiple emergency department visits for opioid-related health emergencies,” Balio said in a statement.

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