Study: ER boarding, staff shortages common

Over time, we've shared a variety of studies with statistics that prove that the U.S. is having problems with its emergency departments. The thing is, most drew their conclusions from databases and other forms of second-hand data. This time, however, an ER doctor went to the source and surveyed ER nurses and doctors from across the country to see what they thought of conditions in their departments. 

The news was, unsurprisingly, not good. In fact, Dr. David Magid, the lead author of the study, was surprised to find just how common some of the problems are.

For example, one third of the 3,562 emergency medicine clinicians surveyed said that patients were consistently being relegated to hallways for lack of space. More than half reported that they consistently lacked space to deliver patient care.

Two-thirds of the clinicians said that they didn't have enough nurses during busy times, and 40 percent found that there were not enough doctors during busy times either.

The report also had some suggestions for improvement, including increased staffing during busy times, streamlining hand-offs between emergency and inpatient areas of the hospital, and sharing information more effectively.

To learn more about the report:
- read this Wall Street Journal Blog piece