A major problem facing the healthcare industry today is the tendency for Americans to travel to the nearest emergency room to address common conditions that do not demand urgent care. Dr. Eric Forsthoefel has many spent the entirety of his career working in emergency rooms and trauma centers. This experience has provided him with firsthand knowledge of how the overuse of these facilities for non-urgent health care needs have overburdened these facilities to the point that they are sometimes unable to adequately provide service to those that need them.
Dr. Forsthoefel explains in a recent interview that many patients turn to emergency rooms for routine health care due to the lack of access to primary care that has become a problem for many Americans. Forsthoefel goes on to explain that each patient arriving at local emergency rooms or trauma centers is met with the best efforts of emergency room staff regardless of the nature of the illness or injury that prompted their arrivals. This can be problematic Forsthoefel says because resources sometimes are stretched to the point that it becomes a challenge to pay adequate attention to the truly critical patients that are in need of emergency services.
Dr. Forsthoefel reiterated before ending the interview that all patients entering emergency facilities are treated with the best care possible and says emergency room personnel is sympathetic to the fact that many face barriers that make other treatment options unavailable to them. The fact remains however that many of the resources intended for acute and emergency patients are being diverted more and more towards patients with non-urgent needs.
The opinions of Dr. Eric Forsthoefel and other doctors working in emergency rooms is supported by the present data. A survey done by Harris in 2005, asked emergency room physicians to provide the top reasons they believe people overuse emergency room services. Doctors expressed time and time again that the wait time that is necessary when a patient makes an appointment with a primary care physician is a primary factor in the overcrowding of local emergency rooms and trauma centers in America. The physicians also said the problem becomes considerably worse at nights and on weekends because many primary care clinics are not open for business at these times.
The conclusion drawn by Dr. Forsthoefel and other emergency room physicians is that primary care physicians can do a great deal to lessen the burden on emergency rooms across the country by offering greater access to patient services on nights and weekends.
About Eric Forsthoefel
Dr. Eric Forsthoefel is an emergency room physician that has served the people of Tallahassee Florida for the past seven years. Forsthoefel attended the School of Medicine at Louisiana State University and completed the requirements for his degree in 2011.