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EMERGENCY DEPARTMENTS: EDBA database provides utilization benchmarks by patient volume for US hospitals

The Emergency Department Benchmarking Alliance collects utilization data currently from nearly 1,000 emergency departments in the U.S.  That’s a pretty robust sample, representing roughly a quarter of the emergency departments in the nation.  The two tables that I will describe below have data from these participating EDs segmented by size — by annual volume, that is.  You can examine the difference between low-volume and mid-volume and high-volume EDs.  Let’s look at a few of these metrics.  The first group represents data for the time period 2004 through 2010.

Percent of ED patients admitted to the hospital

  • 11.2 percent (low volume, less than 20,000 patients/year)
  • 21.8 percent (high volume, greater than 80,000 patients/year)

Percent of ED patients who arrived by EMS

  • 11.5 percent (low volume)
  • 21.4 percent (high volume)

Median length of stay for ED patients who are not admitted to the hospital

  • 107.4 minutes (low volume)
  • 213.1 minutes (high volume)

Median length of stay for ED patients who ARE admitted to the hospital

  • 215.7 minutes (low volume)
  • 386.0 minutes (high volume)

Patients who left before treatment complete (LBTC)

  • 1.3 percent (low volume)
  • 3.4 percent (high volume)

Percent of ED patients admitted to the hospital (updated, 2012 data only)

  • 12.0 percent (low volume, less than 20,000 patients/year)
  • 18.6 percent (high volume, greater than 100,000 patients/year — note that this is a little different group than what was reported above)
  • 16.4 percent (TOTAL)

There is another great article that also looks at data from this data source, segmented by patient volume.  I’ve blogged about it before, but it is worth a mention here.  See #3 below.


1. Handel, D., Augustin, J.J., and others.  Comparison of emergency department operation metrics by annual volume over 7 years.  Academic Emergency Medicine;19(4, Supplement 1):S32-S33, Apr. 2012.  Click here for access to full text:  http://www.edbenchmarking.org/uploads/aem.pdf

2. Martinez, R., and Carr, B.  Creating integrated networks of emergency care: from vision to value.  Health Affairs;32(12):2082-2090, Dec. 2013.  Click here http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/32/12/2082.abstract?rss=1&related-urls=yes&legid=healthaff;32/12/2082  

3.  Welch, S.J., Augustin, J., and others.  Volume-related differences in emergency department performance.  The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety;38(9):395-402, Sept. 2012.  Click here for access to full text: http://www.edbenchmarking.org/uploads/jcjqps-size-matters-welch-preproofreadiing.pdf Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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