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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/17113

Title: The number of patients simultaneously present as an indicator of unsafe waiting times in the emergency department: A receiver operated curve-based evaluation.
Authors: BERGS, Jochen
Verelst, Sandra
Gillet, Jean-Bernard
Deboutte, Peter
Vandoren, Cindy
VANDIJCK, Dominique
Issue Date: 2014
Citation: International emergency nursing (Online), 22 (4), p. 185-189
Abstract: Background Emergency department (ED) crowding and prolonged waiting times have been associated with adverse consequences towards quality and patient safety. Objective This study investigates whether the number of patients simultaneously present at the ED might be an indicator of unsafe waiting and at what threshold hospital-wide measures to improve patient outflow could be justified. Methods Data were retrospectively collected during a 1-year period; all ED patients aged ⩾16 years, and triaged as ESI-1 or ESI-2 were eligible for inclusion. The number of patients simultaneously present was used as occupancy rate. Waiting time was considered unsafe if it was longer than 10 min for ESI-1 patients, or longer than 30 min for ESI-2 patients. Differences in waiting time and occupancy between patients with safe and unsafe waiting times were analysed using the Mann–Whitney U test. The ability of the occupancy rate to discriminate unsafe waiting times was analysed using a receiver operating characteristic curve. Results The overall median waiting time was 5 min (IQR = 4–8) for ESI-1, and 12 min (IQR = 6–24) for ESI-2 patients. Unsafe waiting times occurred in 16.0% of ESI-1 patients (median waiting time = 17 min, IQR = 13–23), and in 18.9% of ESI-2 patients (median waiting time = 48 min, IQR = 37–68). The occupancy rate was a weak indicator for unsafe waiting times in ESI-1 patients (AUC = 0.625, 95%CI 0.537–0.713) but a fair indicator for unsafe waiting times in ESI-2 patients (AUC = 0.740, 95%CI 0.727–0.753) for which the threshold to predict unsafe waiting times with 90% sensitivity was 51 patients. Conclusion The number of patients simultaneously present is a moderate indicator of unsafe waiting times. Future initiatives to improve safe waiting times should not focus solely on occupancy, and expand their focus towards other factors affecting waiting time.
Notes: Bergs, J (reprint author), Martelarenlan 42, B-3500 Hasselt, Belgium. jochen.bergs@uhasselt.be
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/17113
DOI: 10.1016/j.ienj.2014.01.002
ISI #: 000347098200003
ISSN: 1878-013X
Category: A1
Type: Journal Contribution
Validation: ecoom, 2016
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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