Emergency room visit time: Changes over a 16-year period
Emergency Service, Hospital
Task Performance and Analysis
Time and Motion Studies
A one-week time and motion study was conducted at a large urban hospital replicating a study performed in 1969 in the same hospital, allowing a longitudinal study of emergency room utilization to be reported. Despite a 36% increase in the number of emergency room patients over the 16-year period, the findings from both studies replicate many of the patterns previously reported. Over time, both length of stay and wait times to see physicians have increased, although the values are still well within the ranges found in the literature. As competition increases, hospitals and their emergency room managers will have to determine what constitutes acceptable visit and waiting times in order to compete effectively for emergency room "clientele." Studies such as this one serve as a foundation for hospitals to implement policy changes that will improve health care delivery, and, in fact, this institution has already implemented changes based on this study.