In each issue on this page, we report on research from or relevant to the emerging urgent care marketplace. And few things are more relevant to urgent care’s role in the greater healthcare marketplace than wait times in various settings.

This may be especially true to the emergency department, as one of the more often heard take-home messages in urgent care promotion is shorter wait times versus a trip to the Ed.

This begs the question, are ED wait times increasing, decreasing, or at a constant? For the answer, we look to a new study published last month in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Source: Horwiz LI, Bradley EH. Percentage of U.S. Emergency Department Patients Seen within the Recommended Triage Time. Arch Intern Med. 2009; 169 (20): 1857-1865.

“Wait time” was defined as the number of minutes between arrival in the ED and being seen by a physician. Targets established for each patient category were as follows:

  • Emergent: 0 to 14 minutes
  • Urgent: 15 to 60 minutes
  • Semi-urgent 61 minutes to 2 hours
  • Non-urgent 2 to 24 hours

If you are aware of new data that you’ve found useful in your practice, let us know via e-mail to [email protected] We’ll share your discovery with your colleagues in an upcoming issue of JUCM.

Developing Data: December, 2009
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