Understanding Rural Non-Emergent Emergency Department Use
Research indicates that rural residents use the emergency department (ED) at higher rates than their urban counterparts, with recent analyses indicating that this rural-urban difference has been increasing. Additional studies suggest that rural residents are more likely to visit the ED for a non-emergent reasons. However, the reasons for these higher rates remain unclear. This difference could be the result of rural primary care access barriers, including availability of after-hours care, or could be related to lower education or other factors affecting knowledge of appropriate healthcare use.
This study will use the 2014-2017 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to analyze the factors associated with rural versus urban residents' non-emergent ED use.