At Albany Medical College in New York, the length of stay dropped in half, said Daniel Pauze, MD. "It shows that we can get patients out of the ER and into inpatient beds if hospital leadership demands it. It's good for both patient safety and the hospital's bottom line when you stop people walking out the door without treatment."
Door-to-balloon times for heart attack patients also improved, another study showed, when the frequency of hospital boarding is reported to a hospital's governing boards. That's significant in light of a Health Affairs report in 2008 showing that wait times for heart attack patients increased by 150% from 1997 to 2004, and that 25% of heart attack patients waited nearly an hour before seeing a doctor.
Emergency room visits in the U.S. increased to nearly 124 million in 2008, up from nearly 117 million in 2007, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.