Emergency Department Wait Times, Crowding and Access

 Main Points


  • Emergency physicians are committed to providing high-quality emergency care as quickly as possible to all patients, but crowding and boarding jeopardize patient safety.
  • The sharp rise in the number of emergency patients (136 million in 2011) combined with critical shortages throughout the entire emergency medical care system limit everyone’s access to timely emergency care.
  • Patients who need to be seen in 1 to 14 minutes are being seen in twice that time frame (37 minutes), according to the GAO in 2009.
  • Effective low-cost solutions to crowding exist that can be implemented now, but there has to be buy-in from everyone in the hospital, not just the emergency department.

 Emergency Department Wait Times, Crowding and Access Fact Sheet


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