Emergency room waits getting longer

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

Tropical Storm Eta floods already drenched Florida cities

Citation: Emergency room waits getting longer (2008, January 15) retrieved 4 December 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2008-01-emergency-room-longer.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments