News | June 09, 2008

Report on ED Experiences Shows Communication About Delays Biggest Priority for Improvement

June 10, 2008 - Press Ganey Associates Inc. today released “The 2008 Emergency Department Pulse Report: Patient Perspectives on American Health Care,” which reports longer emergency department (ED) visits and also indicates communication about delays was the top priority for improvement.
The Emergency Department Pulse Report analyzes the experiences of more than 1.5 million patients treated at 1,656 emergency departments nationwide in 2007.

Notable findings from the 2008 Report include the fact that patients spend an average of four hours, six minutes in the emergency department, up from four hours a year ago. This continues the upward trend observed compared to the previous year. There is wide variability from state to state in the amount of time spent in the ED. Average times by state range from two hours, 45 minutes to nearly six and a half hours.

There is also notable variation in overall satisfaction based on geographic location. Emergency departments in Milwaukee, WI ranked highest in levels of patient satisfaction nationwide. Rounding out the top 10 in patient satisfaction were the metropolitan area emergency departments of Columbus, OH; Miami, FL; Detroit, MI; Indianapolis, IN; Pittsburgh, PA; Boston, MA; Kansas City, KS; Chicago, IL; and St. Louis, MO.

Time spent in the ED is a critical factor in the overall satisfaction of patients that causes dramatic shifts in satisfaction. While patient satisfaction decreases with longer visits, the good news is that EDs can mitigate this dissatisfaction and actually improve satisfaction in spite of long visit times by regularly updating patients with information about delays.

Patients report high satisfaction with issues related to personal and insurance information, signifying progress in gathering patient information in a respectful, private and efficient manner.

The report shows many organizations have recognized the return on investment of improving patient satisfaction in the ED-including increases in patient volumes, improvements in clinical outcomes, and efficiencies gained-and are actively working to improve patient satisfaction. Successful programs range from implementing “fast tracks” in the ED, to hiring dedicated staff charged with improving communication about delays.
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