Time spent in ED increased; Patient satisfaction also up

The average time spent in emergency departments rose in 2006, but so did patient satisfaction, according to a recent report by Press Ganey Associates. Based on the firm's patient surveys in 1,500 hospitals, patients spent an average of four hours in the ED, 18 minutes more than in 2005.

The more patients an ED saw over the year, the longer the average visit, which increased by 30 minutes for every additional 10,000 patients. Patient satisfaction dropped as time in the ED increased, with the lowest satisfaction reported from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and highest from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The 10 metropolitan areas with the highest ED patient satisfaction during the period from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2006, according to the report, are Milwaukee; Indianapolis; Columbus, OH; Oklahoma City; New Orleans; Detroit; Nashville, TN; Cleveland; Kansas City, MO-KS; and Chicago.