Tennessee Hospital Hopes Visible Wait Time Helps ER Demand - News - @ JEMS.com


Tennessee Hospital Hopes Visible Wait Time Helps ER Demand

The postings should help incoming patients and paramedics decide which hospital to use.


 
 

| Monday, August 23, 2010


MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Methodist University Hospital emergency room was one crowded and busy place one Saturday evening, as patients waited an average of up to 52 minutes to see a health care provider.

But there were better options available -- within the Methodist system -- for anyone seeking emergency-room help. At Methodist North, the average wait was just 14 minutes, and at Le Bonheur Methodist Germantown, it was a mere seven minutes.

With emergency-room visits rapidly increasing both nationally and locally, hospitals and firms such as Methodist Healthcare are looking for ways to manage the load. Methodist last week announced it is posting online the average emergency-room waiting times at four of its hospitals.

The postings, available at methodisthealth.org/er, should help incoming patients and paramedics decide which hospital to use, Methodist officials say.

"A long time ago, we decided that although our time was valuable, our patients' time was as valuable as ours," said Marty Carr, medical director of emergency services for Methodist Hospitals.

The new service comes amid a surge in ER visits across the nation.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that emergency visits increased at a rate twice that of population growth in the U.S. between 1997 and 2007. Medicaid patients accounted for a large portion of the increase, and many of them come in with increasingly serious conditions.

The demand for emergency-room service likely has risen even faster since the late 2008 onset of the deep recession, authors of the report state. An estimated 5.8 million Americans became uninsured during the record job losses of 2008 and 2009.

Adding to the congestion is a recent decline in the number of ERs across the nation. In 2007 there were 3,925 emergency departments in the U.S., down from 4,114 a decade earlier.

Those trends are reflected in the crowded ERs of many hospitals in the Memphis area and beyond.

Paramedics with the Memphis Fire Department now are transporting some 75,000 patients to local emergency rooms annually. Often, there are no beds or health-care providers available when the ambulances arrive, officials say.

"It's a major problem here," said Memphis Deputy Fire Chief Gary Ludwig. "I'll have an ambulance waiting two to three hours sometimes to drop off a patient."




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, hospital, technology

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

California Firefighters save Man on Flight

Patient was conscious and talking when United flight landed.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Over Half of Seattle Fire Stations Test Positive for MRSA

Surprisingly high results come from test kits based on earlier study.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

AMR Crew Rescues Mississippi Driver from Fiery Crash

Rescue during crash in Jackson is caught on video.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Hands On February 2015

Here’s a look at this month’s product hands on.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Nightwatch Series Premiere Party

JEMS Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman attends the series premiere of A&E's new reality show, "Nightwatch."
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Ottawa Chemical Investigation

Chemicals and suspicious package are probed at two locations
More >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

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


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

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


More Product Videos >