Overcrowding in hospital Emergency Departments (ED) is a major problem of public healthcare systems both in Greece and internationally, leading to delay in provision of adequate and high-quality healthcare. During the COVID-19 pandemic a significant reduction in ED overcrowding was observed, as many relative urgent cases, usually at lower risk reduced their visits to the ED, in fear of a possible infection. Several healthcare systems abroad have tried to tackle with the problem, establishing or redesigning Primary Health Care (PHC) centers, both rural and urban, which would manage both low-risk emergencies of the general population, but also the routine care of patients with chronic diseases.
The purpose of this article was twofold and included on the one hand the presentation of the characteristics such PHC centers treating low risk emergencies and on the other hand the preparation of a transferability plan for these centers in the PHC of the Greek healthcare system. For the study of the transferability we used a new methodology, which includes and assesses a number of criteria that should be considered to facilitate of effective health interventions from a primary context to a specific target context.
The researchers identified obstacles, but also opportunities for the transferability of PHC centers that should be established to manage low-risk emergencies in the Greek healthcare system. Further research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of such centers to improve overcrowding in hospital ED, patient satisfaction, and to ensure an effective, as well as cost-effective emergency management, for instance through a small-scale pilot program in urban centers in Greece.
Key words: transferability, PEST, crowding, emergency, primary healthcare