ED wait time measures show wide variations

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

May 9, 2012

Hospital Compare, run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, now features two emergency department (ED) wait time measures that reveal a wide variation in hospitals across the country.  

Among 74 hospitals that volunteered data for the website, the time between when patients enter the ED door until they leave the ED for an inpatient bed, which is the first measure or ED-1, ranged from 52 minutes in Perry, Okla. to 387 minutes in Niagara Falls, N.Y.  The second metric measures the time between the moment an ED physician admits a patient to an inpatient bed and the actual time that patients left the ED for that bed. Researchers found times ranging from zero in Pearsall, Texas, and Buckete, W.Va., to 170 minutes in Beaumont, Texas, and Niagara Falls hospitals.  

The voluntary reporting of ED wait times came as part of a pilot program from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS noted that both measures are intended to address ED overcrowding, which may cause delays in medication administration and could compromise emergency care. More CMS measures to determine ED quality are anticipated in the coming years.    

View the Hospital Compare ED data. 

Source: HealthLeaders Media