Healthcare News & Insights

Hospital slashes Emergency wait times by 75%

Long wait times in the Emergency Department are stressful for patients and staff — but they aren’t inevitable. 

Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas used a two-prong approach to cut the average wait time to be seen by a doctor from four or more hours to 54 minutes.

The hospital changed its procedures for treating ED patients to make it faster to get the sickest patients admitted to other units, and to send the least serious cases to the hospital’s urgent care clinic.

Patients seem to notice and appreciate the difference. Previously, up to 18% of ED patients left without being treated — presumably in part because of the long wait times. Now, only 4% leave without being seen.

The more efficient system helped the hospital handle an unexpected surge in ED visits this year. Parkland is on track to see up to 200,000 ED patients this year — one-third more than it had expected.

On average, patients seen at the urgent-care clinic are treated and released within three hours. Patients to be admitted to the hospital have a “dwell” time (time to be evaluated and to get a room assignment) of just under nine hours.

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