In each issue on this page, we report on research from or relevant to the emerging urgent care marketplace. This month, we offer an analysis of how patient satisfaction is affected by time spent in the emergency room, and how current scores compare with research done two years prior.

Though not reflective of patient experiences in the urgent care settings, these data can serve as a lesson on the importance of respecting the patient’s time while also arming your marketing efforts with up-to-date information for comparing the patient’s experience between the two settings.

Average ED wait times reflected in the current report are four hours, three minutes. This is a two-minute improvement over 2007, though in 2006 the average wait was “just” four hours. Either way, the message is clear: more waiting leads to less satisfaction. While not all the patients treated in the ED could be appropriately managed in the urgent care center, it is those lower- acuity patients that could be treated in urgent care that tend to wait the longest while truly emergent cases take precedence.

Developing Data: January, 2010