A report from RAND Corp. found that hospital emergency departments accounted for about half of admissions in the U.S. between 2003 and 2009. Aside from conducting diagnostic tests that cannot be done in doctor's offices, EDs have supplemented the work of primary care providers by managing overflow, after-hours cases and weekend demand for health care, researchers said. "We believe there needs to be more effort to integrate the operations of emergency departments into both inpatient and outpatient care systems," RAND researcher Kristy Gonzalez Morganti said.

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