A nationwide study finds emergency room patients spend the least amount of time in the E-R when they’re in Iowa hospitals. The average E-R patient in Iowa spends two hours, 18 minutes there — the nation’s best time. The national average is three hours, 42 minutes. Arizona had the longest time at nearly five-hours.
Laura Sagers, emergency services manager at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, says the response of their E-R doctors can be better measured in minutes, not hours.
Sagers says, “If there is a surgical problem, time is usually even more of the essence and so a quick response time from them would be very important.”
At Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, Doctor Brad Wisnousky says the E-R keeps its wait time down with a new “fast track” system, where non-critical patients are seen within 30 minutes. Wisnousky says, “We’re able to do that with our fast track just by handling what we call minor emergencies, which expedites care, makes patients more happy and obviously you’re not waiting around for a long time.”
The Institute of Medicine says the high risk of being sued and the high cost of insurance premiums discourages many surgeons from working in the E-R. The group has recommended Congress appoint a commission to examine the increasing problem of medical malpractice liability and the E-R.