Emergency room waits getting longer

January 15, 2008

Emergency room wait times in the United States are getting longer, especially for the severely ill, medical researchers said Tuesday.

A study from Harvard Medical School researchers at Cambridge Health Alliance said emergency room wait times increased 36 percent between 1997 and 2004.

The report, which analyzed the time between a patients arrival in the emergency department and when they were first seen by a doctor, found that the wait time increased the most for emergency patients suffering heart attacks. Those patients waited only 8 minutes in 1997, but 20 minutes in 2004. A quarter of heart attack victims in 2004 waited 50 minutes or more before seeing a doctor, Cambridge Health Alliance said in a release.

The number of emergency department visits increased from 93.4 million in 1994 to 110.2 million in 2004, while the number of hospitals operating 24-hour emergency departments decreased by 12 percent over that period.

"EDs close because, in our current payment system, emergency patients are money-losers for hospitals," lead author Dr. Andrew Wilper said in statement.

The findings were published in the journal Health Affairs.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: The little yellow box that's made thousands of operations safer

Related Stories

Virtually painless – how VR is making surgery simpler

January 31, 2017

Surgeons and their patients are finding that virtual reality can relieve the pain and stress of operations – and it's safer and cheaper than sedatives. Jo Marchant travels to a Mexican mountaintop village to visit a clinic ...

Recommended for you

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017

(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Study shows blood products unaffected by drone trips

December 7, 2016

In what is believed to be the first proof-of-concept study of its kind, Johns Hopkins researchers have determined that large bags of blood products, such as those transfused into patients every day, can maintain temperature ...

0 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.