Half of all admissions now through ER

As if the state of the economy isn’t enough, a new report, entitled “2009 Emergency Department Pulse Report Patient Perspectives on American Health Care” adds to the bad news.

According to the report, half of all hospitals admissions in the USA now come through the Emergency Department. Additional bad news from the report findings tell us that the average time spent in ER has now climbed to four hours and three minutes. That’s a lot of people spending a lot of time sitting around in the Emergency Room.

The full report is available for download from the Press Ganey website here.

The results of this increase means increased stress on medical personnel, overcrowding, a decrease in the quality of the care that patients receive and inconsistencies in the way that various medical issues are handled. The state of the economy and the increase of uninsured patients is, in large part, to blame.

Strangely enough, satisfaction with the quality of care in ER from patients has steadily increased over the past five years as seen in this chart, taken from the report:

The question begging to be asked, of course, is why, with the increased wait time, overcrowding, storing of patients in the hallways, lack of consistency and standardizations, increased irritability of staff, etc… are people happier than ever? I’m guessing that it proves that we can get used to almost anything given time. Has it gotten so bad that we are happy with 4 hour waits and other problems simply because we thought it was going to be even worse?

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