Long emergency department wait times are tied to more patient deaths and hospital admissions, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal. The longer the patient stayed in the ED waiting room, the more at risk he or she was for an adverse event.
Longer wait times mean that patients with time-sensitive conditions may have had delayed diagnosis and treatment, resulting in death or hospital admissions.
"For every extra hour of mean length of stay in an emergency department, in similar patients at the time of presentation, there is an association with increased seven day mortality and admission to hospital in those who are discharged home or leave without being seen," states the study. "Waiting times have important implications for patients who attend emergency departments, most of whom go home after their visit."
However, patients who left without being seen were not associated with adverse events.
To learn more:
- read the BMJ study
- check out the Nurse.com story
How EHR helps improve ED wait times
El Camino Hospital posts ED wait times online
Hospital CEO treated at own ER pushes to streamline department