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A growing concern of hospitals across the country is the overuse of the ED by patients for conditions that would be more appropriately treated by a primary care physician.
We cannot diminish the impact non-emergent patients can have—both on the quality of care we are able to deliver and how quickly we are able to give that care. Indeed, 55% of respondents indicate their ED is either "always" or "often" overcrowded, with 50% noting an average wait time of 30 minutes or more prior to a patient being seen by a healthcare professional.
This trend will only continue to worsen, unless we are able to identify ways to offer care outside of the ED while also streamlining processes and increasing efficiency.
But the question remains: How can we do better? We must continue to work together to identify ways to decrease wait times, increase efficiency, and learn from one another.