updated: 6/9/2006 9:29:16 AM

Indiana Ranks in Study of Emergency Room Wait Times

InsideIndianaBusiness.com Report

A study conducted by South Bend-based Press Ganey Associates shows that Indiana ranks 16th out of 49 states for the average wait times for emergency rooms.

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The study shows that Hoosiers wait on average about three hours and that includes being treated. More than 57 emergency rooms in Indiana participated in the study. The average wait time nationally was three hours and 42 minutes. I

Iowans face the shortest wait time, while Arizona residents endured the longest.

Press Ganey Chief Executive Officer Dr. Melvin Hall talks about some of the reasons for the long wait times.

Hall says as competition grows hospitals are starting to look at some patients as customers, with a need for better customer service.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

Press Release

SOUTH BEND, Ind., June 2 -- So when should the typical emergency room patient send an SOS? The average length of stay in U.S. emergency rooms in 2005 hit 3 hours and 42 minutes, with Iowans facing the shortest wait time and Arizona residents enduring the longest. Press Ganey Associates, which measures patient satisfaction at 35 percent of the nation's hospitals, compiled the statistics based on nearly 1.5 million patient questionnaires filled out last year covering 1,227 emergency departments across the country.

The data reveals wide state-to-state variations in the time between a patient entering a hospital's emergency department and being admitted to the hospital or sent home. The findings are important because the less time patients wait in the emergency room, the greater their satisfaction with their care, according to Press Ganey's 2006 Health Care Satisfaction Report. The report finds that satisfaction with emergency department waiting times improves simply by providing patients with information about any delay at regular intervals. The better informed that patients are, the more satisfied and understanding they are about the wait.

Still, as emergency room wait times lengthen, a growing number of hospitals are moving to reduce that time.

"There is hardly a hospital in the country that is not, in some way, focused on wait times in the emergency room," says Melvin Hall, Ph.D., Press Ganey's president and chief executive officer. "The longer a patient waits, the more dissatisfied the patient gets. A hospital can soften that dissatisfaction merely by explaining the reason for the delay or giving an idea when the patient will be treated. In fact, patients with long waits who have received frequent explanations about delays are more satisfied than those with shorter waits who did not receive explanations."

Emergency room patients in Iowa average the shortest wait -- a mere 2 hours and 18 minutes, followed by Nebraska (2 hours and 26 minutes) and South Dakota (2 hours and 29 minutes). Meanwhile, patients in Arizona face an average emergency department wait of nearly five hours (4 hours and 57 minutes), with Maryland at 4 hours and 7 minutes and Utah at 4 hours and 5 minutes.

Dr. Hall said rural Midwestern states fared best in the report because their hospital occupancy rates are lower and they handle fewer emergency patients. He also explained that metropolitan hospitals treat more emergency room patients with routine medical problems, who tend to wait longer for care than the critically injured.

About Press Ganey Associates Inc.

Founded in 1985, Press Ganey Associates is the health care industry's leading independent vendor of satisfaction measurement and improvement services. Headquartered in South Bend, Ind., Press Ganey partners with more than 7,000 health care facilities and assists them in collecting and using patient, resident, physician and employee evaluations in their quality- improvement initiatives. Among U.S. inpatient hospitals, more have selected Press Ganey than have selected all other vendors combined. Roughly one-third contract with Press Ganey to measure patient satisfaction. This percentage increases to 43 percent among hospitals with more than 100 beds. For more information on Press Ganey, visit http://www.pressganey.com .

Source: Press Ganey Associates

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