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Wait Times in Emergency Departments Surge

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, July 22, 2010

A long wait time might not be indicative of the emergency department’s performance. Instead, it could be a symptom of a larger patient flow issue in the hospital that keeps the patients in the emergency department when inpatient beds or testing equipment are not readily available.

Another factor impacting patient satisfaction with emergency departments is the time of day patients arrive. According to the report, patients who arrive between 7 am and 3 pm evaluate their care much more favorably than those who arrive after 3 pm. Patients who arrive in the emergency department on Monday and Tuesday rank lowest in terms of patient satisfaction, while Saturday and Sunday evaluations of care are the highest.

Among metro areas, patient satisfaction with ED care was highest last year in Madison, WI, which failed to make the top metro area list in 2008. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL, which was No. 1 in patient satisfaction in 2008, fell to sixth last year, but 2009 marked the third consecutive year it made the list.


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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1 comments on "Wait Times in Emergency Departments Surge"


Elizabeth Patterson, MD, FACEP (7/17/2011 at 7:54 PM)
I think you are confusing terminology here. The total time spent in the Emergency Department is different from the time waiting to be seen in the Emergency Department. Mixing these terms and the data associated with each metric makes for confusing reading and misinformation.