Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Long emergency waiting times linked to increased risk of adverse events

Date:
June 1, 2011
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Long emergency department waiting times are associated with an increased risk of hospital admission or death within seven days among non-admitted patients, finds a new study.

Long emergency department waiting times are associated with an increased risk of hospital admission or death within seven days among non-admitted patients, finds a study published on the British Medical Journal website.

Related Articles


The findings support policies to reduce the time patients wait and call into question government plans to abandon the 4-hour A&E target in England for lack of "clinical justification."

Long emergency department waiting times are associated with delays in care and several countries have set targets for the time patients wait. Most (85%) of emergency department patients go home after their visit, but whether waiting times adversely affect their outcomes is unknown.

So researchers in Canada set out to determine whether patients who present to emergency departments during shifts with long waiting times are at risk for adverse events (hospitalisation or death within seven days).

Using data from high volume emergency departments in Ontario, Canada from 2003-2007, they identified 13,934,542 "seen and discharged" patients and 617,011 "left without being seen" patients.

Risk of short term adverse events increased with average emergency department length of stay.

Although the overall risk is low, risk of hospital admission increased by up to 95% while risk of death increased by up to 79% among the sickest patients.

Risk of death increased incrementally with each additional hour of average shift waiting time and the authors calculate that reducing emergency department length of stay by one hour, on average, could have potentially cut the number of deaths in this study in higher risk patients by 558 (6.5%) and in lower risk patients by 261 (12.7%).

Contrary to popular belief, patients who left without being seen were not at higher risk of short term adverse events compared with patients who were seen and discharged, nor were patients who attended emergency departments with high "left without being seen" rates.

This is reassuring, say the authors, as there has been much uncertainty surrounding outcomes of "left without being seen" patients. However, these results suggest that presenting to emergency departments during shifts with long average waiting times may have serious patient safety implications.

They argue that there is likely clinical justification to reduce emergency department waiting times and they call into question recently announced plans to abandon English emergency department targets.

In an accompanying editorial, Melissa McCarthy, Associate Professor at George Washington University in the US writes: "We need to extend the evaluation of emergency care to either the resolution of the problem or transfer of care to a provider better suited to tackle the patient's needs."

She believes that emergency departments must be redesigned to meet patients' needs more effectively and efficiently. Ongoing measurement of patient outcomes is also essential, she says, as is seamless integration between the emergency department and hospital and a stronger linkage to ambulatory care providers to enhance delivery of care and clinical effectiveness.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Long emergency waiting times linked to increased risk of adverse events." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110601204048.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2011, June 1). Long emergency waiting times linked to increased risk of adverse events. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110601204048.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Long emergency waiting times linked to increased risk of adverse events." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110601204048.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins