Average ER Waiting Time Nears 1 Hour, CDC says - @ JEMS.com


Average ER Waiting Time Nears 1 Hour, CDC says


 
 

Mike Stobbe | | Tuesday, August 5, 2008


ATLANTA --The average time that hospital emergency room patients wait to see a doctor has grown from about 38 minutes to almost an hour over the past decade, according to new federal statistics released Wednesday.

The increase is due to supply and demand, said Dr. Stephen Pitts, the lead author of the report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"There are more people arriving at the ERs. And there are fewer ERs," said Pitts, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Atlanta's Emory University.

Overall, about 119 million visits were made to emergency rooms in 2006, up from 90 million in 1996 a 32 percent increase.

Meanwhile, the number of hospital emergency departments dropped to fewer than 4,600, from nearly 4,900, according to American Hospital Association statistics.

Another reason for crowding is patients who are admitted to the hospital end up waiting in the ER because of the limited number of hospital beds, Pitts added.

The amount of time a patient waited before seeing a physician in an ER has been rising steadily, from 38 minutes in 1997, to 47 minutes in 2004, to 56 minutes in 2006.

Pitts added that 56 minutes may be the average, but it's not typical: The average was skewed to nearly an hour because of some very long waits.

"Half of people had waiting times of 31 minutes or less," Pitts noted.

Researchers also found that there has not been any recent increases in the number of patients arriving by ambulance, or in the number of cases considered to be true emergencies.

Black patients visited emergency departments at twice the rate as whites in 2006. Among age groups, the highest visitation rates were for infants and elderly people aged 75 and older.

About 40 percent of ER patients had private insurance, about 25 percent were covered by state programs for children and about 17 percent were covered by Medicare, the report found. About 17 percent were uninsured.

Some more findings: Summer and winter were the busiest times in ERs. And half of hospital admissions in 2006 came through emergency departments, up from 36 percent in 1996.

"The ER has become the front door to the hospital," said Pitts, a fellow at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

The results are based on a national survey of 362 hospital emergency departments.

Click here to view the CDC report.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Industry News, Operations and Protcols

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Philadelphia Fire Department Apologizes for Medic’s Jab at Police

Union head calls photos a slap in the face of officers.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire and EMS Crews Blame New Technology for Patient’s Death

Delayed response blamed on recurring dispatch problems.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Suspect Steals, Crashes Maryland Ambulance

One killed, others injured in Prince George’s County crash.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Tennessee Trench Rescue

Worker pulled from Roane County worksite.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Time’s Ebola Firefighters

Doctors, nurses and others saluted for fighting virus.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Car Strikes Manhattan Pedestrians

Seven people hurt when car jumps curb.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >