Ban on ambulance diversions doesn't worsen ER crowding

Ban on ambulance diversions doesn't worsen ER crowding
A 2009 ban on ambulance diversion in Massachusetts did not worsen crowding in emergency departments or ambulance turnaround times, according to research published online Dec. 21 in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

(HealthDay)—A 2009 ban on ambulance diversion in Massachusetts did not worsen crowding in emergency departments or ambulance turnaround times, according to research published online Dec. 21 in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Laura G. Burke, M.D., from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues retrospectively analyzed data from nine Boston-area hospital emergency departments before and after the ban. Emergency department length of stay was used as a proxy for crowding.

The researchers observed no increase in emergency department length of stay for admitted or discharged patients or in ambulance turnaround time, despite an overall 3.6 percent increase in emergency department volume. Overall, there was a 10.4-minute decrease in length of stay for admitted patients, and a 2.2-minute decrease in turnaround time. When analyzed separately, neither high- nor low-diverting emergency departments saw an increase in length of stay, and both saw a decrease in turnaround time.

"Our results suggest that the ban did not worsen crowding or availability at Boston-area hospitals," the authors write.

More information: Full Text

Related Stories

Psychiatric patients wait average of 11.5 hours in ER

date May 14, 2012

(HealthDay) -- Average emergency department wait times for adult patients with psychiatric emergencies is 11.5 hours, and can be even longer for those who are older, uninsured, or intoxicated, according to ...

ER overcrowding hurts minorities in California

date Aug 06, 2012

Hospitals in areas with large minority populations are more likely to be overcrowded and to divert ambulances, delaying timely emergency care, according to a multi-institutional study focused on California.

Psychiatric wait times in emergency departments

date Nov 12, 2012

Patients with mental illness visiting emergency departments in Ontario have shorter waits to see a doctor during crowded periods and only slightly longer waits during less busy periods, found a study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical A ...

Recommended for you

Text messaging useful for reaching 'at-risk' teens about sex

date 5 hours ago

Text messaging that connects teens with sexual health educators is effective for delivering sexual health information, according to a recent study in The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University.The ...

Optimum style for running a marathon?

date 12 hours ago

Most of the brave and hardy runners in Sunday's London Marathon will have put themselves through a lengthy training programme to build up strength and stamina as well as physical and mental fitness.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.