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Many Hospitals Neglect Practices To Combat ER Overcrowding, Study Finds
Kaiser Health News

Crowded emergency departments have been vexing patients and hospital staff for years as consumers have increasingly sought care there. But a new study finds that many of the busiest facilities have yet to adopt several well regarded measures to reduce the wait and minimize delays.

The study, published in the journal Health Affairs this week, measured crowding based on patients’ length of stay in the emergency department and then divided hospitals into quartiles from least to most crowded. In 2010, half of patients in the least crowded quartile of emergency departments spent less than 93 minutes there, while in the most crowded quartile of EDs half of patients had a length of stay of more than 160 minutes.

Overcrowding in the emergency department can lead to worse outcomes for patients, including more complications – especially for cardiovascular patients — and higher mortality rates.