Blue and White car with “DispatchHealth” and “UC Davis Health” written on the door

‘The next frontier of emergency medicine’: House calls following emergency room

Some patients needing follow-up care can avoid going back to the hospital


UC Davis Health has launched an innovative program that provides adult patients with care at home following certain emergency department visits.

The initiative is part of UC Davis Health’s efforts to bring care to patients’ homes. It comes less than a year after the health system started delivering in-home urgent care for adults with a range of illnesses and injuries.

Two men and two women standing side-by-side in front of abstract painting.
From right to left: Vimal Mishra, Kelly Owen, BJ Lagunday and Daniel Colby

The new program is called ED to Home. It aims to improve access to care, deliver a more personalized patient experience and reduce unnecessary repeat visits to the emergency department. UC Davis Medical Center is one of few hospitals nationwide to establish an ED to Home program.

“UC Davis Health is proud to be the first health care system in the region to offer follow-up care for certain patients at home after their emergency room visit,” said Vimal Mishra, associate chief medical officer at UC Davis Health. “This innovative initiative makes health care more convenient, and more accessible to our patients, especially for those having trouble with activities of daily living. We believe it will help them avoid unnecessary trips to the emergency department or stays in the hospital.”

ED to Home is similar to the Urgent Medical Care At-Home program, which started last year. For both programs, UC Davis Health in partnership with DispatchHealth, a comprehensive in-home medical care provider. With ED to Home, patients will receive follow-up care at home within 48-hours after discharge from the emergency department after being evaluated for the following conditions:

  • Congestive heart failure worsening
  • COPD exacerbation or flare up
  • Diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
  • Fever
  • Respiratory infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Uncomplicated fractures and sprains
  • Urinary tract or kidney infections
  • Viral infections
  • Some wound care

“The ED to Home program is designed to ensure that appropriate patients receive necessary care in the comfort of their own homes,” said Daniel K. Colby, medical director of emergency medicine at UC Davis Health. “Beyond benefiting patients receiving care at home, this program will increase bed capacity in the hospital, potentially reduce wait times in the hospital, and free resources that can be utilized for our most sick and complex patients.”

DispatchHealth will operate two vehicles within a 25-mile radius of UC Davis Medical Center. Care will be provided by a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, as well as a trained medical technician. A board-certified emergency department physician is available virtually, as needed, by the on-site care team at the patient’s home.

The program’s services will be available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., 365 days a year, including holidays. Each vehicle will serve six to eight patients per day.

“Additional benefits to patients receiving care at home include reduced risk of serious falls or catching infections in the hospital, as well as other improved outcomes,” added Kelly P. Owen, professor of emergency medicine. “The ED to Home program is the next frontier of emergency medicine.”

Patients will be referred to the ED to Home care services upon discharge from the emergency department or by their primary care provider. Patients cannot directly make an appointment with the new service.

“We are proud to bring medical care right to people's doorstep,” said BJ Lagunday, executive director of Ambulatory Operations and Population Health. “This exciting collaboration is not only better for our health care system, but most importantly better for our patients and their caregivers.”

The ED to Home is program is part of UC Davis Health’s Connected Care Center, a pioneering initiative designed to bring care directly to the patient’s doorstep. The Connected Care Center offers a range of services that includes Express Care, which provides on-demand video appointments, and Urgent Care at Home for same-day or next-day acute in-home visits.

Other collaborators include:

  • Michael Condrin, interim chief administrator of UC Davis Medical Center and chief operating officer, Hospital Division
  • Bruce Hall, chief clinical officer for UC Davis Health
  • Rupinder Sandhu, executive director of Emergency Services