Interest in high users of acute care continues to grow as health care organizations look to deliver cost-effective and high-quality care to patients. Since “super-utilizers” of acute care are responsible for disproportionately high health care spending, many programs and interventions have been implemented to reduce medical care use and costs in this population. This article presents a systematic review of the peer-reviewed and grey literature on evaluations of interventions to decrease prehospital and emergency care use among U.S. super-utilizers. Forty-six distinct evaluations were included in the review. The most commonly evaluated intervention was case management. Although a number of interventions reported reductions in prehospital and emergency care utilization and costs, methodological and study design weaknesses—especially regression to the mean—were widespread and call into question reported positive findings. More high-quality research is needed to accurately assess the impact of interventions to reduce prehospital and emergency care use in the super-utilizer population.
Author(s): Samantha Iovan, Paula M. Lantz, Katie Allan, Mahshid Abir