Patients with complex needs were more satisfied with in-home urgent care delivered by community paramedics than emergency department (ED) urgent care.
Though emergency departments (EDs) serve an important purpose, many are overcrowded with patients with nonemergent needs. Mobile integrated health and community paramedic (MIH/CP) programs can help expand emergency care into patients’ homes or institutional residences, but are not widely implemented in the United States. This study of an MIH/CP urgent care program in Massachusetts sought to understand how patients in the MIH/CP program perceive their urgent care experiences compared to people visiting EDs.
Patients with complex health and socioeconomic needs were more satisfied with paramedic-delivered urgent care in their homes than with urgent care in EDs. Nearly nine out of 10 patients treated in the MIH/CP program reported excellent or very good quality care, where ED patients rated their care much lower. Interviewed patients indicated that the in-home treatment saved them time, carried a lower risk of their illness worsening, and was overall less burdensome.
Health systems and payers should consider how MIH/CP programs can maximize patient satisfaction and enhance efficiency of care delivery while reducing burden on EDs.