How Long Will You Wait In The ER?

Here’s some local news you can truly use: a handy comparison of wait-times at Boston hospital emergency departments.

With spiffy graphics from The South End Patch here’s a ranking of how long, on average, you’ll wait in the ER (based on new data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid); how long it will take before you’re admitted to the hospital and several other important measures:

(South End Patch)

(South End Patch)


At the South End’s Boston Medical Center, the average time patients spent in the emergency department before they were seen by a healthcare professional was 18 minutes, which is much quicker than the state and national averages of 40 and 30 minutes, but longer than the wait at Mass. General, which is 10 minutes.

Of those patients, the average time patients spent in the BMC emergency department before being sent home was 181 minutes, compared to the state average of 152 minutes and the national average of 140 minutes.

Finally, the average time patients spent in the BMC emergency department, before they were admitted to the hospital as an inpatient was 280 minutes, compared to the state average of 311 minutes and the national average of 277 minutes.

Waiting around for emergency care has got to be one of the more stressful activities in life. And as we’ve reported earlier in a somewhat related post, if the ER is particularly crowded, things can turn even more dangerous.

A recent report published online in the Annals of Emergency Medicine found that “patients admitted to the hospital from the emergency department during periods of high crowding died more often than similar patients admitted to the same hospital when the emergency department was less crowded.”

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  • Reasonable?

    This is good to know, but it would great to have this data in realtime.
    In addition the types of conditions seen varies from Emergency department to Emergency department.

    For example, I think gun truama goes to BMC and MGH, but not BIDMC.
    Wait times by condition would be most useful.