Associations between Extending Access to Primary Care and Emergency Department Visits: A Difference-In-Differences Analysis
William Whittaker, Laura Anselmi, Søren Rud Kristensen, Yiu-Shing Lau, Simon Bailey, Peter Bower, Katherine Checkland, Rebecca Elvey, Katy Rothwell, Jonathan Stokes, Damian Hodgson
Health services across the world increasingly face pressures on the use of expensive hospital services. Better organisation and delivery of primary care has the potential to manage demand and reduce costs for hospital services, but routine primary care services are not open during evenings and weekends. Extended access (evening and weekend opening) is hypothesized to reduce pressure on hospital services from emergency department visits. However, the existing evidence-base is weak, largely focused on emergency out-of-hours services, and analysed using a before-and after-methodology without effective comparators.