1 The Changing Landscape: ED visits have increased by about 3% per year over 12 years from 369 visits to 451 per 1000 population. The ED population is aging in line with the demographics of the country, and EDs need to prepare to meet the needs of seniors.
2 Less Trauma, More Sickness: Over the past 40 years, American emergency care has trended away from trauma and towards high acuity illness. Injuries now represent only 29% of patient encounters, with the biggest group of injured patients being the elderly.
3 Inpatient Admissions: Hospital inpatient admissions that are processed through the ED now stand at 68%. The need for precision in defining patient needs has resulted in more use of diagnostic tools in the ED, especially EKGs, MRI and ultrasound. The use of CT scanning appears to have plateaued.
4 LOS is Improving: Despite increased volumes, flow through the ED is improving. Flow is volume dependent, and boarding times for admitted patients is a key driver of overall flow. Median ED lengths of stay are decreasing, and only about 2% of patients walk away from the ED before treatment is complete.
James Augustine, MD
Vice President of the ED Benchmarking Alliance