In their report, researchers analyzed data from the yearly National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys from 2001 through 2008. The surveys abstract patient records from a national sample of hospital EDs.
These days, Pines agrees that hospitals are putting in place procedures to try to reduce boarding "without building new hospital towers." He also noted that while imaging increased dramatically between 2001 and 2008, "it has leveled off" in recent years, he says.
All good signs. But, there's still that one thing, Pines says.
"How can we get doctors to order fewer tests when patients come into the emergency department?" he asks. "That is a much heavier lift."