Emergency department relief? Keep doctor offices open late

Primary care physician practices that offer evening and weekend office hours can help patients avoid trips to the emergency department while cutting overall health system spending, suggests an emerging body of research.

A recent study in The Journal of Pediatrics examining the pediatric population confirms what earlier studies among adult patients have found: When patients with urgent health problems have the option to see their regular physician, they will skip ED visits that can involve long waits, big out-of-pocket costs and unneeded testing.

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