A long wait time might not be indicative of the emergency department’s performance. Instead, it could be a symptom of a larger patient flow issue in the hospital that keeps the patients in the emergency department when inpatient beds or testing equipment are not readily available.
Another factor impacting patient satisfaction with emergency departments is the time of day patients arrive. According to the report, patients who arrive between 7 am and 3 pm evaluate their care much more favorably than those who arrive after 3 pm. Patients who arrive in the emergency department on Monday and Tuesday rank lowest in terms of patient satisfaction, while Saturday and Sunday evaluations of care are the highest.
Among metro areas, patient satisfaction with ED care was highest last year in Madison, WI, which failed to make the top metro area list in 2008. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL, which was No. 1 in patient satisfaction in 2008, fell to sixth last year, but 2009 marked the third consecutive year it made the list.