How fast can an emergency department diagnose, triage, and assure proper care for all patients who come through its doors, however scared, intoxicated, delusional, in pain, infectious, bleeding, and maybe even close to death they may be?
With precious little fanfare, Uncle Sam last month rolled out a big, fat database with seven measures comparing a service that many people—healthcare providers and patients alike—consider the most critical any hospital can provide.
The government's data reveals how long a hospital's ED keeps patients waiting to…
…Be seen by a healthcare professional
…Receive pain medication if they have a broken bone
…Be taken to an inpatient bed if they need admission
…Receive appropriate treatment and be sent home, or
…Receive an appropriate brain scan if they might be suffering a stroke
I thought the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would make a bigger fuss about such a major release. Certainly with so much concern about ED overcrowding, and the number of patients being boarded in hospital hallways and even closets, coughing on each other and getting sicker as they wait, a three-month picture of the state of an ED's throughput speed should be a very big deal.