New study shows increasing wait times in emergency rooms nationwide

Dr. Arjun Venkatesh co-authored two studies printed in the Journal of the American Medical Association last week investigating how bad ER wait times have gotten.

News 12 Staff

Oct 5, 2022, 9:28 PM

Updated 654 days ago

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Visitors to emergency rooms across the country are seeing increasing wait times with many hospitals at or over capacity.
Dr. Arjun Venkatesh co-authored two studies printed in the Journal of the American Medical Association last week investigating how bad ER wait times have gotten.
"We took data from the electronic health records of a couple thousand hospitals around the country and found unprecedented crowding and boarding," said Venkatesh.
Boarding refers to the time between when a patient is first seen and when they're admitted. Accredited hospitals aim to keep that average below four hours.
"There are hospitals in this country where people are waiting - forget four hours - they're waiting up to 12 hours, and sometimes up to 24 hours, just to get a bed upstairs," said Venkatesh.
Even worse, researchers found at many hospitals, up to 10% of ER patients are leaving without even being seen.
"You extrapolate that across the country, and there might be a million people not getting the emergency care they need," he said.
Venkatesh is also the chief administrator of Emergency Medicine at Yale Medicine. He says the department is doing everything it can to see every patient.
"We now take care of patients in the waiting room of our emergency department, we've moved beds into hallways to try to provide care for people," Venkatesh said.
Whether or not COVID cases are high locally, hospitals are running over capacity again, amid a staffing shortage driven by pandemic burnout.
"Almost every hospital is short in America," said Venkatesh. "You could literally find a job posting for almost any kind of job in health care in almost any community in this nation."
Venkatesh says some tasks need to be streamlined and automated to keep the medical workers we do have doing medical work.
"And so instead of having doctors or nurses spending their time in electronic health records, or viewing charts, or arguing with insurance companies, figure out how to get them back to the bedside," Venkatesh suggested.
Venkatesh says new telemedicine tools will also be part of the solution, as they let one doctor treat more patients at once.


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