Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Western Journal of Emergency Medicine


Volume 14, Issue 1

Inclusive Pages



Introduction: The state of emergency department (ED) crowding in Pennsylvania has not previously been reported.

Methods: We assessed perceptions of ED crowding by surveying medical directors/chairs from Pennsylvania EDs in the spring of 2008.

Results: A total of 106 completed the questionnaire (68% response rate). A total of 83% (86/104) agreed that ED crowding was a problem; 26% (27/105) reported that at least half of admitted patients boarded for more than 4 hours. Ninety-eight percent (102/104) agreed that patient satisfaction suffers during crowding and 79% (84/106) stated that quality suffers. Sixty-five percent (68/105) reported that crowding had worsened during the past 2 years. Several hospital interventions were used to alleviate crowding: expediting discharges, 81% (86/106); prioritizing ED patients for inpatient beds, 79% (84/ 106); and ambulance diversion, 55% (57/105). Almost all respondents who had improved ED operations reported that it had reduced crowding.

Conclusion: ED crowding is a common problem in Pennsylvania and is worsening in the majority of hospitals, despite the implementation of a variety of interventions. [West J EmergMed. 2013;14(1):1–10.]


Reproduced with permission of University of California eScholarship Western Journal of Emergency Medicine.

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