Press Ganey LOS Study, Part 2

From the Des Moines Register:

Hospital patients in Iowa spend less time in emergency departments than patients in any other state — and more than 2 1/2 hours less than patients in Arizona, a report shows.

State and national health officials cite several factors for Iowa’s top rating, pointing out that many of the state’s 117 hospitals are in less-populated rural areas, and that the state’s hospital occupancy rates are lower than the national average.

Iowans spend an average of two hours and 18 minutes in hospital emergency rooms, compared with the national average of three hours and 42 minutes, the report says. In Arizona, which ranked last, patients spend an average of almost five hours in the emergency department.

But the report’s findings are important to Iowans for more than promotional reasons, experts say. Studies have shown that patient satisfaction is tied directly to how long people spend in the emergency room. And the more efficient an emergency department is, the fewer the mistakes.

“You want people to go where they’re supposed to go in the most efficient manner possible,” said Glenn Hamilton of Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, who is past president of the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine. “It’s not just a satisfaction issue. It’s a safety issue.”

Press Ganey Length of Stay Study

From USA Today, via Symtym:

Hospital patients in Arizona spend more than twice as much time in the emergency department as those in Iowa and Nebraska, a report shows.

But wherever you live, you might want to bring something to read. The average length of stay in U.S. emergency rooms is 3.7 hours, or 222 minutes. The state-by-state look at emergency department waiting times was conducted by Press Ganey Associates, which measures patient satisfaction for 35% of the nation’s hospitals.

The report on emergency-room times is based on about 1.5 million patient questionnaires filled out in 2005. And it shows wide state-to-state variations in the time between entering the hospital’s emergency department and being admitted or sent home. (Idaho is not included because there wasn’t enough data available.)

Iowa (138.3 minutes) and Nebraska (146.1 minutes) had the shortest emergency-room stays, while Maryland (246.9 minutes), and Arizona (297.3 minutes) had the longest.

The findings are important because studies have shown that the less time patients wait to be seen, or spend in the emergency room, the greater their satisfaction with their care. As emergency-room visits continue to increase, many hospitals are promising to see patients quickly as a marketing tool.