Well Being

Emergency Room Waiting Times Increasing

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Emergency Rooms account for nearly half of all hospital admissions so it’s not surprising that it turns into a waiting game for most patients.

A new report released today by Press Ganey Associates has found that there has been a 27 minute increase in waiting time in ER nationwide since 2002.

The report, ”2009 Emergency Department Pulse Report: Patient Perspectives on American Health Care”, which analysed the experiences of almost 1.4 million patients who were treated in 1,725 Emergency Departments during 2008.


Interesting facts from the report include

South Dakota has the lowest total time spent in the emergency department (3 hours, 52 minutes) while Utah had the highest total time (6 hours, 48 minutes).

Virginia patients spent 23 fewer minutes in the emergency department in 2008 than they had in 2007, while patients in Maryland spent 14 fewer minutes in the ED last year.

The metro areas with the highest patient satisfaction in the emergency department for 2008 were, in order, Miami, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Boston, Chicago, Baltimore, Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth and New York/Long Island.

Patients who arrive in the emergency department between 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. report higher satisfaction than those who arrive in the evening or overnight hours. Lowest satisfaction was reported among those who are in the emergency department between 3:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.

While average total times have increased since data was first collected in 2002, patient satisfaction is improving as many hospitals are communicating better with patients about delays.

The economy is having a significant impact as the proportion of emergency department patients without insurance is increasing. Fewer patients are seeking inpatient and elective services.

Alongside this report, Press Ganey has also released easy to use information on Solutions for Consumers and Tips for Hospital Administrators.