Does Telemedicine Reduce Emergency Room Congestion? Evidence from New York State

33 Pages Posted: 1 Jan 2020

See all articles by Shujing Sun

Shujing Sun

University of Texas at Dallas, Naveen Jindal School of Management

Susan F. Lu

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management

Huaxia Rui

University of Rochester - Simon Business School

Date Written: December 15, 2019

Abstract

Overcrowding in emergency rooms (ERs) is a common yet nagging problem. It not only is costly for hospitals but also compromises care quality and patient experience. Hence, finding effective ways to improve ER care delivery is of great importance. Using a large dataset covering all emergency visits of New York State from 2010 to 2014, we investigate whether telemedicine enhances ER care delivery. We show that, on average, telemedicine availability in the ER significantly reduces average patients' length of stay (LOS), which is partially driven by the flexible resource allocation. Specifically, the adoption of telemedicine leads to a larger reduction in ER LOS when there is a demand surge or supply shortage. Furthermore, such improvement is not a byproduct of other widely adopted health IT applications and does not come at the expense of care quality or patient cost. We also replicate the analysis using annual U.S. hospital data and find that ER telemedicine adoption significantly reduces average patients' waiting time, which suggests that the LOS reduction partially comes from the reduction of waiting time.

Keywords: telemedicine, emergency room, overcrowding, health information technology

JEL Classification: O3, I00, D02

Suggested Citation

Sun, Shujing and Lu, Susan Feng and Rui, Huaxia, Does Telemedicine Reduce Emergency Room Congestion? Evidence from New York State (December 15, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3504291 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3504291

Shujing Sun (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Dallas, Naveen Jindal School of Management ( email )

800 W Campbell Rd
Richardson, TX 75080
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://jindal.utdallas.edu/faculty/shujing-sun

Susan Feng Lu

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management ( email )

1310 Krannert Building
West Lafayette, IN 47907-1310
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/susanluhome/home

Huaxia Rui

University of Rochester - Simon Business School ( email )

Rochester, NY 14627
United States

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