Emergency Department Access


This analysis aims to identify wait times and leave percentages across different types of hospitals.

Emergency department (ED) crowding and boarding are increasingly problematic for the U.S. health care system. Research has shown that hospitals with higher levels of crowding and boarding have consistently poorer quality and outcomes (National Quality Forum, 2012, Morley et al., 2018). Research has shown that ED wait times are associated with longer lengths of stay, increased morbidity and mortality, patients leaving the emergency department without being seen, negative patient satisfaction, and increased costs (Vermeulen et al., 2014, Shen et al., 2018).

There is a growing emphasis on adopting interventions that have proven effective in decreasing ED wait times and crowding. However, research indicates that relatively few hospitals report implementing known strategies for decreasing emergency department wait times (Rabin et al., 2012, Tabriz et al., 2019).

This data is also available as an Excel spreadsheet. 

2020 National Emergency Medical Services Assessment (9.91 MB)

This alternate format also provides hospital-specific data.

In this tutorial video, we look at Emergency Department Access. The video guides you through how to use Tableau data analysis to identify wait times and leave percentages across different types of hospitals.

Emergency Department Access Tutorial Video

A blank entry indicates unreported data. A value of zero is defined and does not represent unreported data.

State: The abbreviated name of the state where the hospital is located.

County: The name of the county where the hospital is located. County names are listed as provided on the US Census Bureau's list of 2020 FIPS Codes for Counties and County Equivalent Entities.

Hospital: The name of the hospital.

Hospital Type: The type of hospital includes acute care hospitals, acute care -Department of Defense hospitals, critical access hospitals, and children's hospitals.

Hospital Ownership: The ownership type for the hospital includes: Voluntary non-profit - Private, Voluntary non-profit - Other, Voluntary non-profit - Church, Tribal, Proprietary, Physician, Government - State, Government - Local, Government - Hospital District of Authority, Government - Federal, Department of Defense.

Measure Name: The name of the timely and effective care measure. The measures include the following:

  • OP_18b: Average (median) time patients spent in the emergency department before leaving the visit. A lower value is desired. 
  • OP_18c: Average (median) time patients spent in the emergency department before leaving the visit- Psychiatric/Mental Health Patients. A lower number of minutes is better.
  • OP_22: Percentage of patients who left the emergency department before being seen. A lower value is desired.

Measure Score: The numeric score for the measure may represent the average time in minutes or a proportion depending on the measure. See Measure Name for more information on how to interpret the score for each measure. The reporting period for the OP_18b and OP_18c measures is July 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021, and for the OP_22 measure, January 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.

Denominator: The sample size used to determine the score for the measure.

Population Type: An indication of whether a county where the hospital is located is predominantly metropolitan, micropolitan, or rural. 


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