Case Management

News: Hospital ED wait times differ significantly

Case Management Weekly, May 16, 2012

Hospital leaders who think their ED patients' wait times compare well with their competitors should rethink this assumption.

Two quality metrics posted on Hospital Compare indicate that ED wait times vary significantly nationwide, HealthLeaders Media recently reported. The data reflects information from the first 74 hospitals the first to volunteer it.

The first measure (ED-1) denotes the median time between patient arrival in the ED and transfer to an inpatient bed. Median times at the following hospitals range from less than one hour to nearly seven hours:

  • 52 minutes at Perry Memorial Hospital in Perry, Okla.
  • 90 minutes at Paynesville Area Hospital in Paynesville, Minn.
  • 358 minutes for Memorial Hermann Baptist Orange Hospital in Orange, Texas
  • 387 minutes at Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Best-practice hospitals ensure that wait time is less than four hours for all patients rather than the median wait time, says Sandra Schneider, MD, past president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. Schneider, who has studied this issue and has visited EDs nationwide, notes that 18 of the 74 hospitals posted median times of four hours or longer.

Read the HealthLeaders Media report.


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