Many patients at Mason Square Neighborhood Health Center (MSNHC) use the Emergency Department (ED) as a route to obtain primary care as they do not understand when they should call the clinic for an appointment or when it is appropriate to go to the ED. This practice encourages poor continuity of care, uses valuable resources in an inefficient manner, and increases healthcare costs. An innovative educational tool was developed by Health New England Be Healthy to provide a simple, easy to follow decision-making guide for patients to use when they feel that they need to access the ED. The “Call vs. Go” tool provides information on when to call their primary care team for an appointment or go to the ED. By using the “Call vs. Go” tool, patients are taught to self-advocate/ manage and are made aware of appropriate ways and situations to access primary care at MSNHC. Previous work around teach-back has failed to address how the patient teach-back was conducted, if it was conducted consistently, and if
it was involved in the process at every visit. This project will seek to determine if providing MSNHC patients with Health New England Be Healthy Insurance who have been to the ED more than 6 times in the past 3 months with a “Call vs. Go” educational tool and corresponding direction on its use will reduce non-urgent visits to the ED. Data will be collected quarterly and reviewed for a year to enable the MSNHC Nursing team to evaluate the shift of ED visits back to primary care. Educating patients on the appropriate use of and access to the ED vs. MSNHC is necessary to providing effective care in an efficient manner. The “Call vs. Go” is an innovative educational tool that will teach patients self-advocacy, assist in continuity of care, reduce ED visits and waits, and provide cost effective care in the appropriate setting, as we strive to improve the health of the people in our communities every day.