Waits to see an emergency department physician: U.S. trends and predictors, 1997-2004

UMMS Affiliation

Meyers Primary Care Institute



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Emergency Medicine; Emergency Service, Hospital; numerical data; Humans; Multivariate Analysis; Physicians; Triage; United States; *Waiting Lists


Health Services Research | Medicine and Health Sciences


As emergency department (ED) patient volumes increase throughout the United States, are patients waiting longer to see an ED physician? We evaluated the change in wait time to see an ED physician from 1997 to 2004 for all adult ED patients, patients diagnosed with acute myocardial infarction (AMI), and patients whom triage personnel designated as needing "emergent" attention. Increases in wait times of 4.1 percent per year occurred for all patients but were especially pronounced for patients with AMI, for whom waits increased 11.2 percent per year. Blacks, Hispanics, women, and patients seen in urban EDs waited longer than other patients did.

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Citation: Health Aff (Millwood). 2008 Mar-Apr;27(2):w84-95. Epub 2008 Jan 15. Link to article on publisher's site


At the time of publication, Sarah Cutrona was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID