Metro Atlanta emergency rooms: Rating the waiting

Thousands of U.S. hospitals are required to report their emergency room wait times to the federal government every quarter. It’s actually six different measures, including time elapsed before the patient sees a doctor or nurse in the ER; how long it takes for a patient with a broken bone to get pain medication; and other measures.

This table shows the latest numbers for metro Atlanta’s 24 major hospital emergency rooms. The category definitions:

Door-to-diagnosis: The median time patients spent in the emergency room before they were seen by a healthcare professional.

Wait for outpatients: The median time patients spent in the emergency room before being treated and sent home.

Wait for inpatients: The median time patients spent in the emergency room, before they were admitted to the hospital as an inpatient.

After doctor admittance: The median time patients spent in the emergency room, after the doctor decided to admit them as an inpatient before leaving the ER for their inpatient room.

Pain meds: The median time patients who came to the emergency room with broken bones had to wait before receiving pain medication.

Left before treatment: Percentage of patients who left the emergency room before being seen (these are the only numbers not expressed in minutes).

In all cases except ‘Left before treatment’, the numbers represent minutes and reflect the median wait at each hospital. And in all cases, a lower score is better.

The numbers do not reflect improvements a hospital may have made since the data was gathered. The information here was released by the government in December, but the data covers a year of patient visits that ended March 31, 2013.

Use the scroll bar to the right to move down the list to find results for your hospital, or use the category’s search function. You can view the times for each category from high-to-low or low-to-high by clicking on the top of the category column.