Patient-Centered Care and Emergency Department Utilization: A Path Analysis of the Mediating Effects of Care Coordination and Delays in Care

Academic Article


  • Increased emergency department (ED) overcrowding has renewed interest in identifying remedies for unnecessary ED utilization. One potential remedy receiving more attention is patient-centered care. Relatively little is known, however, about how patient-centered care might decrease ED utilizatiosn. This study examined two mediating processes by which four dimensions of patient-centered care may affect patients’ reported ED visits. Cross-sectional path analysis of 8,140 chronically ill patients found that patients reporting higher levels of patient-centered care were less likely to have experienced problems of care coordination, and in turn were associated with decreased likelihood of having delayed care and fewer ED visits. These findings suggest that understanding how care is delivered, and not simply whether it is available or provided, is an important consideration in understanding ED utilization. Our findings suggest that fostering more fair and respectful relationships between patients and providers may be a particularly important way of reducing ED utilization. © 2012, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hearld LR
  • Start Page

  • 560
  • End Page

  • 580
  • Volume

  • 69
  • Issue

  • 5